A few of the Rhinowarriors were privileged to visit Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary. In short the sanctuary cares for calves that have been orphaned by savage poaching attacks.
Many of these calves bare the physical and mental scars of the incidents that left them orphaned, but the good people of Care for Wild have created a safe environment for rehabilitation and release into safe reserves in future.
Please help us support their cause and gi
Care For Wild Rhino Sanctuary
A clinically run safe establishment.
The scars from a poachers axe.
This Rhino was next to its mothers carcass and lost its ears in an attempt to fend off hyenas.
Four day old calf being hand reared. Not a poaching orphan but rejected by the cow. Follow the story a #careforwild
ve these beautiful animals a chance at survival. Care For Wild relies on donations and sponsors to keep the Sanctuary afloat. Every penny is dedicated to security, and health of the orphans. #careforwild#careforwildrhinosanctuary
SABI SAND RESERVE, MPUMALANGA, SOUTH AFRICA – 22nd June 2017 – Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Reserve today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its seventh year, the achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.
“Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence seven years in a row and inducted into the 2015 ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s guests. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”
“TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2017 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers”, said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honour businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travellers identify and confidently book the right property at the right price.”
The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
The rains came around mid-January and by the end of the season we had about 400 mm all in all. What is interesting is the seemingly persistent shift towards late summer rains. The rains brought growth of vegetation and alleviated the drought conditions for the herbivores. The buffaloes especially have made a remarkable recovery and even towards the end of the season we started to see new calves coming through. The impalas did well as always although I’m sure statistically the last few years have not been their best. The remarkable thing about the bush recovering is that it went and is going through a universal emergence of pioneers, some of which might not have been seen for decades. All the pioneer grasses have made walking safaris a challenge as they use us to spread their seeds on their behalf. A pioneer species is a plant that grows in a disturbed area, it is characterized by small leaves and lots of seeds. Pioneers tend to lack nutrition as their function is bush recovery, so even though the bush looks good the biomass and species indicators might suggest another harsh winter up ahead.
This is good news for the lions as the Madjingilane Male coalition lost the fourth member to long term injuries and age. The other three males are starting to show signs of aging now. Most have lost teeth and canines that are turning black with age. Their spines are becoming visible when they haven’t eaten for a few days. What is working in their favour is that there is a lack of competition coming from the east. The harsh winter will hopefully keep these guys around another 5 or 6 months to help the young othawa female come of age before new males come into the area, if she makes it to adulthood she will be a miracle. The young Othawa male should be ousted soon and he will be displaced or killed, being on his own is not in his favour. This time is really important because the Othawas as a pride can’t really afford to start again to many times as the females are getting on in age. The three young cubs have an outside chance but they require the remaining three males to stick around for a few a couple of years which I can’t see happening.
The Mhangene Pride have been following our herds of buffalo of late and have been keeping in the south for extended periods of time. What is cool about this pride is that the core is four adult females and they have nine male cubs of varying ages. The oldest looks to be about 18-20 months and the youngest looks close to 9 or 10 months. The more time these young males get the stronger they will get. It will be hard to displace 9 males and they might be the next big coalition. A lot has to go right for them though and we can expect some of the males to die on the way to adulthood. So when the herbivores take strain then the predators do better, by this statement then the lions seem to be set for slow steady growth, this could always change at any moment as a new coalition could arrive from the heart of kruger at any time!
Xhikavi is still looking after Mondzo and their relationship is starting to imitate that of cuckoos and its host, whereby the cuckoo chick is often much larger its host parent. Mondzo has been seen making kills but he prefers to take the offerings of his mother. We even had a sighting where Basile had happened upon him and was bullying him a bit. His position will change when he starts to find females attractive and Dewane will ask him to go. It has become apparent though that Dewane wants to mate with Xhikavi again. This is the beginning of the end for Mondzo, it will be nice to see where he ends up when he eventually settles, realistically though we should lose contact with him. It’s a real pity because it isn’t every day you have a leopard with blue eyes.
Both Schotia and Boulders have cubs. Schotia has a little female and no one has seen boulders cubs just her suckle marks. We are sure Boulder’s is denning in Bruce’s Koppie which is inaccessible to vehicles. Basile and Khokovela are both doing well as is Tlangisa and her female cub. Dewane has still been the primary male but he has often given way to Ravenscourt and Nyeleti has been seen more and more. I haven’t heard from or seen Torchwood in a while either.
With winter approaching these predators should do better, the cubs have more food and surviving is easier. The increased lions might mean we do not get the wild dogs denning this year, despite them being around quite frequently hunting all our impala. They tend to choose areas that have low lion density areas, with the lions being their main predator in the wild. Everything works in cycles, the more lions you have the less other predators and vice versa. So it has been really nice having cheetahs and wild dogs but as the lions get more prolific we can be sure our other predators numbers will drop. The viewing will be amazing this winter and we should see loads of predator activity, so if you are thinking of safari then now is the time!
Regards, THE INYATI TEAM
Keith & Francis – Managers
George , Solly, Matthew , Darren , Omega, Nelson , Joel & Rodger
This month’s bush tales is compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Keith and Matthew
Field Guides, conservationists and managers of the Sabi Sand, spend their every day protecting, conserving and imparting knowledge about the majestic Rhino species.
Now they are running for them as well!
In partnership with the Sabi Sand Wildtuin Nature Conservation Trust and its saving Rhino Project, our warriors are taking part in the upcoming Toyota Warrior Race. #warrior4
The objective is to raise awareness about the plight our rhinos, to raise funds to aid in protecting them and to have one hell of a fun time!
By supporting this initiative you can assist the Sabi Sand to sustain and improve their successful anti poaching model.
4 days to go until the big race… watch our warriors hard at work! Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us so far Anyone else wanting to donate, you can do so here: https://www.givengain.com/cc/rhinowarriors/
27 – 28 May #Warrior4 – Kwanyoni Nelspruit Mpumalanga
Our guides and trackers are highly trained and deeply committed to conserving the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and revealing its secrets. Learn more about this talented team:
Georgie is a living legend in the reserve. He was born on the property and as a result started honing his bush craft skills as a toddler. George is still living and working on the reserve with his family. Tracking and anticipating animal movements and behaviour is second nature to George and his guests are guaranteed to be where action is taking place.
Keith studied to become a conservationist and moved to the Kruger Park after qualifying, here he fell in love with guiding and furthered his career as a field Guide. Keith loves tracking big game, and all the small wonders the Sabi Sand has to offer.
After qualifying Matt cut his teeth in a walking concession in the Kruger Park, this sparked his passion for Guiding on foot. Matt enjoys safe responsible interactions with big game and has an intricate knowledge of everything from big game to insects.
Like most of the best guides Omega started his career as a tracker. This moulded his understanding of the animals he lives and works with. Omega quickly moved through the ranks and is now a trails Guide at Inyati. Omega brings a huge amount of energy to the team with a larger than life bubbly personality.
Darren has a lot of experience guiding in the Sabi Sand, and has now found his niche. His passion for wildlife and his guest is always evident as he goes the extra mile. His humble nature, brimming smile and bush lore keep his guest enthralled on game drives and walks.
Solly is one of the most respected trackers in the reserve. His immense trailing talent is evident in his relaxed yet confident approach to tracking. He is one of a handful of trackers that managed full marks on his first ever tracking assessment and has been growing even stronger since.
Nelson has over 30 year tracking experience at Inyati and has an intricate knowledge of the land, and knows most of the animal’s individual habits. His local knowledge, tracking skill, sparkling personality and work ethic make him privilege to be with.
Roger is one of the most multi skilled trackers in the team. He has strong tracking and hospitality background and treats every guest like gold. He tracking skills and passion for the bush enthral every guest that he guides.
Joel has been with Inyati for almost twenty years he has a quiet calm demeanour that suits his profession perfectly. He loves every aspect of the bush but tracking and spending time with guests are his firm favourites.
Cliff came to Inyati after finishing top of his class at the Tracker Academy. His tracking skill meant that he slotted into this experiences team very well and his fresh and youthful perspective motivates the old salts to stay on their game.
At its worst the drought left the bush barren of life. Mother Nature herself wanted us to see the value of water and the suffering that happens when it doesn’t fall. Mercifully though one afternoon a giant cumulonimbus cloud rolled up from the south, bringing with it a light show of thunder and lightning, tempestuous winds whirled and whipped the dust bowl and finally a light sprinkling of the most precious fluid on earth. This auspicious start has compounded over the rainy season, and as I write this we have had non-stop rain for five days. The revival has been astounding, the browns, greys and whites have all but faded and the greens have taken over. The soil left an open canvas by the drought has been painted by the pioneering wild flowers and grasses, the insects that follow cycles and held on through the drought then went about making enough offspring to fertilise all the wonderful plants.
Traditionally predators do better in the dryer seasons as the herbivores lose condition, but with three new Othawa cubs and two cubs for Tlangisa it appears that the cats do well no matter what the conditions are. Xhikavi’s adult offspring is still hanging around his mom almost two years into his life, Dewane seems to like him more than his mom does. His name is Mondzo and he really is a beautiful leopard and even has blue eyes. Ravenscourt has been pushing further and further into Dewane’s territory. Schotia had cubs several months ago but she hasn’t brought them out for inspection yet. Torchwood took some heavy beatings of late and has faded a bit into obscurity as he licks his wounds.
With the dams filling up nicely and the river flooding regularly I think we will sail through the next winter and while it will take a few years for the smaller animal populations to recover, the drought is truly behind us.
That’s all from Matt for this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.
Regards, THE INYATI TEAM
Keith & Francis – Managers
George , Solly, Khimbini , Matthew , Nelson ,Omega & Rodger
This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Keith and Matthew
Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve – Winner of the Wildlife Encounters category @ the Provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016 – Mpumalanga.
“Being awarded the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Award for the Visitor Experience category – Wildlife Encounters in #Mpumalanga for a third year in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”
Billed to recognise only the best in the South African tourism industry, the Lilizela Tourism Awards aim to recognise and reward the highest levels of excellence in the tourism value chain. They are the ultimate reward for entrepreneurial and service excellence that sets global benchmark standards.
The National Winners will be announced at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on 16th of October 2016.
In 2011, Inyati Private Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve issued over 12 000 phantom shares, equivalent to five percent of the company, to its employees in a bid to reward staff loyalty and retain employee talent.
In 2016 the staff have now received their 3rd dividend pay-out.
“Our staff play an important role in the success of the lodge and we look forward to sharing future growth with them”. says Carlos Dos Santos, Director of Inyati.
Inyati is set within the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Sand River allowing for fantastic game viewing from the lodge. Home to the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area. Our highly trained and experienced guides and trackers ensure that your safari experience ranks amongst the best in Africa.
From the second we came across the Inyati Game Lodge in our search for the perfect South Africa safari accommodation we were certain it was the perfect luxury safari retreat for us. We had a short and undemanding list of requests: luxury accommodation, good food, drinks and company and the best chance of sighting the big 5. It’s not much to ask really! After a glorious morning spent exploring the Panorama route we arrived at Inyati. With its amazing rooms, fantastic rangers and the gorgeous surrounds of Sabi Sands we knew we were in for a treat on our first South Africa safari. We couldn’t wait to experience the best of what Inyati and Sabi Sands had to offer!
Inyati Game Lodge
The Inyati Game Lodge is located deep within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is situated on the banks of the Sabi River. After a morning of sightseeing on the Panorama route we couldn’t resist the safari call any longer and set off for our stay at Inyati. The heavy, end of summer rains had taken their toll on the gravel roads and it was a slow and bumpy ride to the Newington Gate of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The drive was soon forgotten as we turned the corner into the entrance of the gorgeous Inyati where the reception staff had assembled to greet us and whisk our luggage away. Welcome drinks awaited us and we were instantly transported into holiday mode! Bliss!
Welcome to Inyati! The lodge:
As we sipped our drinks we finally had the chance to absorb our incredible surroundings and we were absolutely blown away! The lodge itself is stunning and the African decor blends seamlessly with the surroundings of the Sabi Sands bush. The focal point of Inyati is the main lodge with its chill out lounge area and terrace and the views over the Sabi River are mesmerising.
Terrace views! The Sabi River: The grounds of Inyati:
It was time to check out our safari home and we were escorted to our Chalet, No 1, to settle in and freshen up before our first game drive. With only 11 rooms the lodge is intimate and luxurious, with the chalets dotted in clusters around the main lodge. We opted for a family chalet as we were travelling as a trio with my lovely mum accompanying Dave and I on the trip.
Our chalet was perfect and we instantly felt at home in Inyati. The room was spacious and we were spoiled with a huge King Size bed and two spacious doubles, one of which Dave used to tuck his beloved camera equipment in at night. Seriously! The room was equipped with everything we’d expect from 5* accommodations: a walk in closet, a generous sitting area, a well equipped mini bar and a beautiful bathroom. We knew we were in for a treat!
Our chalet:The room:The bathroom:The view from our room:
Game Drives at Inyati
Why we chose Sabi Sands and Inyati
The quality of the game drives and the frequent reported sightings of the Big 5 were the main reason we opted to stay at Inyati. Inyati is located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which shares an open boundary with Kruger National Park meaning the animals roam freely between the two. Game drives take place in an open topped truck and the vehicles are allowed to go off road to get closer to the animals. It’s widely accepted that Kruger and Sabi Sands offer some of the best game drives in Africa, with Sabi Sands being particularly renowned for leopard spotting. It’s said the leopards are more relaxed in the Sabi Sands surroundings.
The Inyati game trucks:
Our Game Drives at Inyati
Our pre lunch arrival on day 1 allowed us to enjoy four game drives, two morning and two evening, during our two night stay at Inyati. Morning drives required an early start with a 5am wake up call courtesy of a gentle knock on the door from our lovely guides!
In search of greatness:
There’s only one word to describe our game drives at Inyati: INCREDIBLE! Cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, buffalos, impalas, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, warthogs, dung beetles, lizards and vultures. Our ranger George and tracker Solly were amazing in their pursuit to show us everything the Sabi Sands bush had to offer.
Our memories of our Inyati game drives are like scenes from a movie. It’s difficult to narrow down our favourite moments but sitting in the middle of a herd of 40 elephants as they made their way through the bush is one of our highlights. I still have to pinch myself when I think of that moment!
Our favourite Inyati sightings:
A leopard mama and her two month old cub:
The elusive cheetah:
Rhino bath time:A softer side to the king of the bush: Always watching us, the buffalo herds:Sniffing out a kill, the hyena: Meandering across our path, the lofty giraffe:
Wildlife on site!
Inyati is an unfenced game lodge meaning the wild animals can wander in and out of the property as they please. This was a real treat although it did mean that all our night time movements outside our room had to be accompanied by a ranger!
We woke up from a post breakfast nap to find a troop of monkeys with some bushbuck wandering among them on our private veranda. One of the monkeys went so far as to try and open our door and we were glad we’d heeded our arrival warning of locking the doors at all times! Another highlight came as we were leaving the lodge and a family of giraffe rambled alongside us! Returning guests regaled us with tales of lions wandering through the grounds on their previous stay but we weren’t so lucky. Here’s hoping for next time!
Do you mind if I come in?!
Food and drinks
Inyati rates are all inclusive meaning breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee and water are included in the price. Bar purchases were extra but the reasonable pricing was a pleasant surprise (we spent around US $15 to US $20 each on soft and alcoholic drinks over our 48 hours at Inyati). We were totally spoiled on the food front and our biggest fear, that we would starve in the bush, was totally unfounded as we enjoyed a constant supply of food! Our food schedule went something like this:
5:30am: pre game drive breakfast of pastries, fruit and museli served with tea, coffee, water and fruit juice.
7:30am: morning tea in the bush! Flapjacks, tea, coffee and biscuits during a quick bush stop on the morning safari.
9am: post game drive brunch with a delicious selection of cold and hot foods where we munched on salads, fruits, sausages, eggs, pastries and cereals.
As good as it looks! Brunch at Inyati:
1pm: a small lunch menu with toasted sandwiches and a snack is available during the day. Given the late breakfast indulgence it’s geared towards the arriving guests!
4pm: afternoon tea is served prior to the evening game drive.
Afternoon tea time:
6:30pm: the highlight of the day for us! Sundowners and savoury snacks watching the sun go down in the bush.
Gin and tonic sundowners, amazing company and this view:
8pm: dinner time! Dinner was a 3 course communal affair with delicious soup, meat, fish, vegetables and salads choices plentiful.
One of the highlights of our dining at Inyati was the rotating locations the team used. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner on the main terrace during our first meals but the real highlight was the outdoor dinner in the Boma, where at one point the background noise was a pride of lions roaring, and breakfast on the river terrace!
For us, staying at Inyati was all about the safari experience but the surroundings and facilities did much to add to our stay. The communal guest areas are beautifully equipped with relaxing seating, books and a television. A small gym is located on site and the outdoor pool is a lovely spot for relaxing between the drives.
Limited wi-fi is available around this main spot but it is very slow and this was a common occurrence across most of our South Africa travels. With all that was going on we weren’t bothered about having wi-fi so it wasn’t an issue!
The bar and chill out area:
We absolutely adored our stay at Inyati and from the moment we crossed the Newington Gate to enter Sabi Sands we were instantly transported into another world filled with the delightful sights and sounds of the South African Bush. The Lodge and its staff were incredible and we were totally spoiled for every second of our 2 nights in Inyati.
Staying at the lodge is a luxurious experience but the real star of the show is the Inyati game drives: the rangers and trackers are warm and funny and have an amazing safari knowledge allowing them to answer every random question we came up with! Of which there were many! Our dream of seeing the Big 5 was quickly realised and we made incredible bucket list memories which still give us goosebumps.
Worth the cost?
The private game reserves of Sabi Sands come at a price and we spent a lot of time considering our safari options. For us, the luxury, the experience and the private game drives are worth the extra cost. We couldn’t think of a more perfect spot to spend our first safari experience and, despite our reluctance to visit the same place more than once, we really, really hope to return to Inyati in the future!
Disclaimer: Inyati Game Lodge provided us with a media rate during our stay. Our opinions, as always, are our own.