Samara Private Game Reserve is near Graaff-Reinet, on the edge of the Plains of Camdeboo. It’s a place where the Khoisan (or Bushmen) once lived, and it’s a landscape once heavily populated with plains game – lion elephant and cheetah – most of which were wiped out by early pioneers. The romance of this magnificent setting of savannah and forest, mountain valley and grassy plateaux pulled owners Mark and Sarah Tompkins into its orbit and what was originally 11 farms is now one single reserve of 28 000 hectares from which they’ve moved all the fences and restocked with the kind of wildlife once seen there in abundance. One of the largest private reserves in the country this valuable heritage is coming alive again. The look of Samara’s lodges is the comfortable, 21st-century version of the pioneering interior, put together by John Jacob Zwiegelaar of John Jacob Interiors.