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October 2, 2015

“Our Latest News & Events From Samara” with African Travel Solutions

Goodbye Sibella

Thank you to the friends of Samara for the outpouring of grief, love and memories of the wonderful Sibella, who passed away in the early hours of Friday 11th September after an altercation with a duiker during a hunt. She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy, including her two adult cubs Chili and Pepper who still reside at Samara. We have been so touched by all your comments, testimonies and photographs. Here is a short selection of our favourites:

‘Sibella what a loss, so sad, but thank you for the memories, the walks, the cubs. Anne shed a tear on that first encounter such was the power of your presence. Long may you be remembered and your cubs dominate that space called Samara’ – Bill Thomson, via Facebook

‘She will forever hold such a special place in all of the Duncan’s hearts.. Rest in peace superbe Sibella’ – Caroline Duncan, via Instagram

‘What a truly beautiful and moving tribute to Sibella. She was truly magnificent and awesome. This is very sad news and I cried as I read your loving tribute to her. Yet as you so movingly wrote, she has given so much to all the people whose lives she touched. And how wonderful that she raised 20 cubs to independence. That is really quite fantastic. Sibella lived as a full life and died living a cheetah’s life. The way it’s suppose to be for a cheetah. May Sibella rest in peace. Her legacy will live on in her beautiful progenies. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all that you do for cheetah conservation in southern Africa’ – Hyo-Jung Kim, via Facebook

‘Very sorry to hear about Sibella. But you have the compensation of knowing that because of you she had the freedom to die as she had lived – a wild animal hunting and raising cubs in the African bush. She had a very good innings and became a real legend in her lifetime. I look back on my time with her with great fondness. Tendai had taken me up to the high plateau – absolutely beautiful country – where he picked up Sibella’s signal. We found her stretched out in the montane grasslands in that typical cheetah attitude – body flat on the ground with only her head raised. We sat together, the three of us, in silence, content to be where we were and in each others’ company’ – Mitch Reardon, via email

Ever the superstar, Sibella has also appeared in articles from around the world celebrating her life and legacy:

Daily Express Online UK (published the news24 story)

To celebrate the extraordinary life of this wonderful cat, we will be creating a book of photographs and memories. We would love to include pictures taken by Samara guests and visitors. Please email any hi-res photographs to with a caption, date of capture and memories of Sibella for a chance to feature.

Tigers return to the Great Karoo

‘Have you heard about the fight with the “tiger” at Apies Kloof?’ was the question repeatedly asked at the Stock Fair this morning. And indeed the story is one of the most sensational which we have heard for many a long day. It, moreover, has the supreme advantage of being true.’

This extract from the Graaff-Reinet Advertiser on 30th March 1906 tells the tale of an encounter between a “tiger” and a goatherd on the farm, Monkey Valley, that subsequently formed the nucleus of Samara Private Game Reserve in 1997. In those days, the words “tiger” and “wolf” were routinely used to describe that most wily, brave and elusive of big cats, “Napoleon of the veld” – the leopard. The individual in question had been caught by the hind leg in a jackal trap and apprehended by a young goatherd. He called in for reinforcements, who attempted to shoot, missed, and set the farm dogs on the enraged beast. All of a sudden the chain of the trap snapped, and the leopard leapt onto the old farm hand who had been wielding the gun. The young herders came to the rescue, tackling and subduing the assailant, until ‘with a mighty roar the animal turned over – and expired.’

This story is symptomatic of the persecution of leopards (Panthera pardus) across the Eastern Cape over the past 300 years. Feared by farmers for their deadly hunting effectiveness and prized by hunters for their coats, these big cats have been captured, poisoned and shot to the brink of local extinction. As populations have both declined and fragmented, leopards have sought refuge in only the most isolated and mountainous areas. Samara Private Game Reserve, nestled at the foot of the Sneeuberg mountain range, has long provided ideal habitat for these resilient animals. 18th century explorers spoke of the abundance of wildlife within the eastern Great Karoo, including lion, cheetah and leopard as well as abundant prey species for these top predators. The Graaff-Reinet Advertiser article even states that the leopard subdued by the young herders was in fact the ninth “tiger” caught at Apies Kloof during the early 1900s.

Vuyani Christmas Party

The owners and staff host a Christmas party each year at Samara for the children of Vuyani Safe Haven in Graaff-Reinet. These children have already suffered unimaginably during their short lives and Vuyani was created to help them overcome these difficulties and place them on a successful path for the future. The children are homed in two different homes in Graaff-Reinet according to their age and care-givers are with them 24/7. Samara volunteers often assist with maintenance and playing with the children and our guests are often very generous with their visits and donations.

If anyone would like to contribute money to make the children’s Christmas as festive as they deserve please use the following account:

Name: Friends of Samara Trust / Electronic account number: 50004170194 / Investec Branch code: 580105 / Branch: Graaff-Reinet, South Africa

If you would like to donate presents, please contact Jenny on to find out how to do so. Our budget for the party is R20,000.00 so every little counts! As a guideline, one year’s schooling, including uniforms, for one child costs R1,000.00 (US$76.00 or GBP50.00) so if you would prefer to donate to schooling as opposed to or in addition to the party please don’t hesitate.

International Rhino Day – 22 September 2015

As the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa continues unabated, International Rhino Day provides an important reminder of the precarious situation facing one of our planet’s most iconic and charismatic creatures. By May of this year, poaching was already 18% higher than the same period in 2014, with the majority of casualties in Kruger National Park. The Eastern Cape has also suffered in recent months. One of Samara’s neighbours was hit with by an attack in which two cows were poached and an unborn calf, two weeks from full-term, was murdered in utero.

The situation is critical. With an estimated maximum population of only 30,000 rhinos of all species remaining worldwide, and poaching escalating by the week, we are in serious danger of losing rhinos within a matter of years. At Samara, we believe in a multi-pronged approach to this crisis, by addressing demand for rhino horn in the Far East, promoting education and social upliftment in communities neighbouring national parks and reserves and encouraging government-to-government dialogue on the illegal wildlife trade. In our day-to-day work, however, monitoring and protecting our rhinos is our primary concern, and one that we take incredibly seriously.

If you would like to help us to achieve our aims with our on-going rhino protection and anti-poaching programme, please contact Sarah Tompkins at or make a donation to the following bank account: NAME: Friends of Samara Trust / Electronic account number: 50004170194 / Investec Branch code: 580105 / Branch – Graaff-Reinet, South Africa Thank you for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you.

FROM THE KITCHEN : Roosterkoek

Great for late summer bbq’s or early spring in the southern hemisphere Get the kids to wrap Roosterkoek dough on a stick and make their own bread rolls. Kids at samara love it.
• ½kg white bread flour
• ½ packet instant yeast
• 1tsp salt
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 250ml lukewarm water
• 15ml sunflower oil
1. Mix the flour, salt and sugar together
2. Add the yeast and oil
3. Add water to the dry ingredients to from a soft dough
4. Knead well for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic
5. Cover and leave in a warm place to rest for about 15 – 20 minutes until the dough has risen
6. Knock the dough down
7. Roll into a long roll and cut into portions approx. 7 cm long. Flatten out.
8. Cook on the grill over a BBQ/braai fire or in a ridged grill pan.

Great Reviews

Samara What a Gem! – Trip Advisor
Spoil yourself and spend a few nights at Samara. From the minute you arrive and are met by smiling staff unpacking your luggage, parking your car and seeing to your every need, nothing is too much. The game drives are spectacular, with knowledgeable guides. Oh what bliss to arrive back at your room after the afternoon drive to find a warm bubble bath waiting for you. We have stayed at both the Manor House and Karoo Lodge chalets and will certainly return. What a treat.


Mark & Carl Sanford – Wonderful time. Amazing staff. Great stay. Thanks.
Pieter & Rianette Marais- Very short but most pleasant stay, Ranger and all the staff very hospitable, loved room and homestead, food amazing. Many thanks.
Andre & Nicola Redlighuys – lovely stay. Everyone at Samara has been so friendly and helpful especially with the children. Thank you!!!
Frans & Lucy + Cornelia & Mourik Hagendijk – It was a lovely stay. Very friendly people and beautiful surroundings. Thanks for everything and special Gibson for the tours.
Jan & Corny – The stay here was very nice! Game drives were very good Thanks Gibson. All the people were friendly Thanks!!!!
Denis & Tamaryn – Fantastic, friendly, very efficient staff! Thanks to Gibson .for wonderful game drives, in a professional, friendly manner. Well done and thanks for looking after us Nomsa!! Take care.

Spring into action this September

Spring is around the corner and it’s time to rid yourself of those winter blues as Samara Private Game Reserve comes to life each September with renewed energy and life as the veld flowers come into bloom and the sound of new born young fill the Karoo air.
Samara, voted Hello magazine 12 Most Romantic Places in the World, is the ideal game lodge to welcome Spring in to your life. Take advantage of the low season rates and come and rejuvenate yourself either as a breakaway or a memorable honeymoon. Witness Mother Nature changing seasons.

Rates from as low as R2200.00 per person per night fully inclusive! Contact Mel on + 44 1476 530927 or
Special rates for honeymooners who stay 4 nights or longer – complimentary massages and a bottle of bubbly.

Category: Blog

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