05 Mar 2024

Samara's re-imagined Karoo Lodge


Samara Karoo Reserve near Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape's Great Karoo has proudly opened the doors of its re-imagined Karoo Lodge. Closed for seven months for extensive renovations, Samara’s flagship lodge, a restored farmhouse where the Samara story began, re-opened just ahead of the festive season.

The redesign pays homage to this special region we call home. A great deal of love and hard work has gone into retaining the lodge’s quintessential Karoo character while embracing a modern approach to safari living,” said Sarah Tompkins of Samara.

The newly renovated Karoo Lodge offers an elevated home-away-from-home experience with expanded and upgraded facilities, retaining its timeless charm beloved by Samara guests. The new living, dining and learning spaces include an atmospheric dining room, library, farm-style kitchen, Spekboom-filled courtyard, wine cellar, bar, gift shop and interactive Story Room showcasing Samara’s past, present and future.

Karoo Lodge now sleeps up to 24 guests across 10 standalone suites located in the lodge grounds – eight Karoo Suites each sleep two guests and two Karoo Family Suites each sleep four guests. All suites have been positioned to overlook the spectacular mountain landscape at every turn.

To deliver on Samara’s vision of redesigning the lodge as a love letter to the Karoo, the team collaborated with Graaff-Reinet architect Peter Whitlock, James Bisdee of Randcivils, interior designer Amy Kidger of Hinterland Studio, creative director Paul Duncan and horticulturist and landscaper Arthur Mennigke of The Naked Gardener. Drawing their inspiration from the natural landscape and local culture, the team have successfully combined traditional Karoo style and modern South African design with personal touches evoking Samara’s journey as a family-run conservation project. The result is an authentic, layered aesthetic that celebrates the unique soulfulness of the Karoo.

In the suites, locally-forged metal four-poster beds are adorned with cushions hand-embroidered with indigenous plants, whilst stone walls have been fashioned by local artisans into outdoor showers in the Karoo vernacular. Outside, the indigenous landscaping blends the welcoming oasis of a Karoo homestead garden with the natural veld that surrounds it, replete with Spekboom, aloes, wild grasses and Jacketplum trees.

With a commitment to the sustainable use of environmental resources at the heart of Samara’s ethos, the new Karoo Lodge is powered by 100% renewable energy and makes use of innovative wastewater recycling systems.

A destination for discerning nature-lovers seeking exceptional wilderness and wildlife experiences, Samara accommodates guests in three intimate lodges with a true sense of place. As well as Karoo Lodge, guests can opt for Plains Camp, a recently opened “explorer-style” eco-tented camp sleeping eight with a focus on walking safaris, or The Manor, an elegant contemporary villa sleeping eight on an exclusive-use basis. Accompanied by expert guides and trackers, guests are invited to explore the 67,000-acre reserve, one of South Africa’s most diverse, by vehicle or on foot. Guests may take in sightings of the Big Five, cheetah tracking on foot, a fossil tour, conservation activities and sleeping out under the stars all in the space of their visit.

The Karoo – a landscape of space, stars and silence – holds a special place in the hearts of many South Africans, and with its re-imagined Karoo Lodge, Samara Karoo Reserve is the jewel in its crown.