As we bid farewell to another remarkable year, we find ourselves reflecting on the incredible moments that have defined 2023 at our special safari lodge. Whilst many in the tourism industry are still clawing their way out of the damaging consequences of the dreaded pandemic, our 2023 has been a year of growth, conservation milestones, and a positive outlook for a bright future.

To infinity and beyond:

The need to keep our diners dry on inclement weather days prompted the construction of a magnificent Sky Deck, which was completed in early March.  The 9-metre-high thatched teak decking platform provides a spectacular vantage point from which to absorb the splendid views of the African savanna against the backdrop of the Klein Drakensburg Mountain range.

The natural beauty of this infinite viewpoint interspersed with its unscripted visitors to the busy waterhole below makes it one of the most iconic places in the lowveld at which to gather, whether it be a special celebration, a social gathering with a group of friends or a special date night with a loved one.

Buffalo Introduction:

One of the year’s most exciting events was the introduction of a family herd of African buffalo to our Reserve, elevating our status to the revered Big-5! Whilst this initiative came with its own set of challenges, introducing these iconic animals has completed the big-5 safari experience for our guests who been thrilled at the opportunity to closely observe the interesting dynamics of these impressive bovines.

A sedated buffalo cow being hoisted into the transport vehicle.

A Miracle of Life:

In the circle of life, we were blessed to witness a heartwarming miracle. First up was the birth of a  female calf born to one of our rehabilitated, orphaned rhino cows during the full moon period of the month of June. Appropriately, the baby has been named Mwezi, which is the Swahili word for moon.  Not to be outdone, another white rhino calf was born a month or so later to one of the oldest rhino cows on the Reserve, who goes for good reason, by the unflattering name of No Hope.  More good news was revealed when a newborn black rhino calf was spotted by the helicopter crew on a routine dehorning operation that also took place during the middle month of the year.

This class of 2023 rhino babies highlights the success of our ongoing conservation efforts and sends a message of self-satisfaction and gratitude to our efficient anti-poaching team who work night and day to keep these endangered animals safe on our Reserve.

One of baby rhino class of ’23!

Rugby Royalty:

Our lodge had the honour of hosting a true legend in the world of rugby—Springbok player Deon Fourie, who was thrown into the deep end in the rugby final against the mighty All Blacks, when Bongi Mbonambi was injured just five minutes into the game. It was an evening filled with camaraderie, stories of triumph, and a delicious dinner that brought together our guests and a sporting icon. Such unique experiences make our lodge a destination where wildlife and sports enthusiasts alike can come together to share their passions.

Deon taking some well-earned time out with Trevor at Khaya Ndlovu Safari Manor.

Zoya and Naru Fundraiser Book Launch for Elephants Alive:

In our commitment to wildlife conservation, we proudly hosted a big group of Elephants Alive supporters at their launch of the Zoya and Naru book, as told by Caroline Montague. Beautifully illustrated by cricketing legend turned artist, Richie Ryall, the enchanting story is filled with insightful African proverbs and life lessons that raise awareness of the plight of elephants and the need to protect them.

 These are just a few of the memorable events and occasions of the year and as we close the chapter on 2023, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to each member of the Khaya Ndlovu Safari Manor family, our guests, staff, and partners. Together, we have created memories, supported conservation, and forged connections that will last a lifetime.

Here’s to a new year filled with more adventures, conservation victories, and the continued celebration of the wonders of the wild.  We hope to see many old faces back in 2024 as well as many new faces becoming a part of the Khaya Ndlovu Safari Manor family.

Wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a thrilling start to 2024!

Sending love,

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