Tag Archives: #inyatisafari

Safari greetings from Inyati Game Lodge Rangers

This month has presented us with huge fluctuations in temperature as pressure systems clash in the never-ending ebb and flow off seasonal change.

The temperature gauge has passed 40 degrees celsius already, one day late in October it crept up to 42 degrees celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit), this prefrontal heat wave was followed by a cool and rainy day of about 20 degrees celsius.

The variations in temperature translated to diversity in animal behavior.  The piping hot days drew huge herds of Elephant to the water to quench their thirst and cool down in the waters of the Sand River. As Elephants, like many animals, do not sweat and their substantial surface area is covered in thick hide that bakes in the sun making temperature regulation a challenging feat.

The Buffalo bulls made the pan in front of camp their home and spent the hot days wallowing in the cool mud that in turn cakes on their bodies and assists in removing ecto-parasites and serves as a natural bush sunscreen.

The predators tend to find shade and lay low on hot days, only emerging after sunset when cool breezes wash over parched bushveld.

The days that the temperature dropped were accompanied by some welcome sprinkles of rain, just enough to sustain the green flush of grass and leaves after the winter. Even though we didn’t have any significant showers October produced a respectable 43 mm of rain.

The cool rainy days gave the predators an opportunity to extend their hunting hours. After the rain, the moist ground cover muffles foot falls and erratic wind conditions, cloaks their scent and sounds, making stalking prey an easier task.

Our resident leopards have still been passing through camp, creating unique viewing opportunities, and keeping the Nyala herd on their toes.

The Tumbela males have settled with the Othawa pride and have been spending a lot of time close to camp. As the males settled, they have now been vocalizing every night in an attempt to maintain their new territory. Magical evenings around the fire with lions roaring in the background have become a regular dinner treat at Inyati.

The game viewing in camp continues to delight staff and guests. Our local Nyala ewes have had lambs and the little “bambies” have quickly relaxed around staff and guests. A large herd of Impala spends its time in camp in the afternoon, if the leopards allow.

Misava, one of our male Leopards, was able to kill one of the Impala in camp. He dragged the carcass to the comfort of the veranda of Room 11 and spent a few days lounging on the daybed. We had guests that were supposed to check in to the room, but we had to move them as the house keepers at Inyati embrace many challenges but cleaning up after big cats is not one of them.  Once again, the animals dictate what a happens at Inyati, as it should be.

We have refurbished the river deck in camp. The old wooden surface has been replaced with ecologically friendly recycled plastic composite. The result is a beautiful new deck from which our guests can enjoy the best view in the Reserve

Bush beat…….

The Lion population has remained stable this month. The Othawa pride and cubs are still the dominant force in the area, and the little ones have been thriving. The Lioness’ have made giraffe and buffalo kills so their hunting prowess seems to be progressing to larger species.

The Ximhungwe Lioness seems to be pregnant, and her daughter has rejoined her mother after a bit of a walkabout.

The Mungen pride is still roaming the south and killing the odd Buffalo. The two Tumbela males are still dominating the area and keeping their cubs safe.

The Leopard viewing has been amazing as per the norm at Inyati. The territorial dynamics with the males seem to have settled with Nyeleti occupying the east and Ravenscourt and Euphorbia setting south and north of the Sand River. Misava has accepted his status as a vagabond in the area. He is considerably smaller than the other males in the area so it seems unlikely that this situation will change.

Ravenscourt met up with Misava in Inyati camp, the large male lured by the scent of Misavas kill, and he once again put Misava in his place and chased him east.

Thamba is still holding the fort in the south.

The exciting news for the month is that we presume that both Khokovela and Basile have had cubs. Not one of the den sites have been established or viewed as the cubs are still too young.

Tlangisa and her cubs are doing well, and it seems she will again be able to raise these cubs to independence.

Species feature……

The humble Impala is probably the most overlooked mammal on safari in the Sabi Sand, and understandably so. There are thousands of them, and after the third herd of impala one can forgive people thinking “just another impala”.

Impala are plentiful indeed, but this is the very reason one should appreciate the species. Impala are probably the most well-adapted ungulate in the Greater Kruger National park.  They make some very simple adaptions to life to be able to thrive. Impala are one of the only hooved animals that practice allogrooming, they simply groom each other as well as themselves. This removes ectoparasites such as ticks that in turn can carry an array of diseases.

Impala are selective in their feeding habits utilizing only the most nutrient rich plants species to maintain their condition. They also adapt their feeding habits seasonally. In the summer when grasses are juicy and sweet due to our summer rainfall, the impala predominantly graze. The nutrient yield from grasses is much higher than leaves so again good nutrient intake is maximized. Grasses are difficult to digest though, but the Impala have again improvised. In simple terms, the lining of the gut increases in thickness and surface area and the pH drops slightly to improve efficiency. The nutrient yield still outweighs the extra energy that the digestive track is using and again the Impala is ahead of the game.

In winter, as the bush dries out so do the grasses and Impala adapt by starting to browse leaves off the trees and the forbs. Dicots generally have deeper root systems and trees can tap into groundwater which means this browse is available even during the dry season. Leaves are easier to digest and the digestive tract changes to use less energy and make up for a lower nutrient yield from leaves. Now we see, these animals are more than cannon fodder for predators.

The core elements to thrive have been covered by the species, they look after themselves well, so parasites and other nasties are kept at a minimum due to a strict hygiene regime.

Their diet is optimized by intelligent feeding habits as well as physiological adaptions. And they stay in shape by moving around all the time to find food and water and, yes, being alert 24/7 so as not to get eaten.

The entire herd is always vigilant and skittish and their senses are well developed so predators are detected, most of the time. If a predator is observed or even smelt, the individuals and herd will sound an alarm to warn other herd members and let the predator know it has been detected.

Due to the Impalas impressive physique, they are very agile and are generally able to leave a detected predator in their dust if there is no element of surprise on the predator’s side.

The Impala’s reproduction is also a very streamlined and efficient process. In May when our days start to shorten as we head into winter in Southern Africa the shortening day stimulates a testosterone boost in male Impala. This testosterone boost makes for significant behavioral changes referred to as the rutt. Males will start becoming territorial driving other males out of the area with head dropping and snorting and running after fleeing intruders. If males are evenly matched ,violent fights may occur, but the lesser males usually will pick life and limb over territory and back off. Dominant males also create territorial beacons by defecating and urinating in middens in the periphery of their territories. These create a boundary of scent and sight that need to be adhered to by lesser males. Even unruly females that dare to stray away from the herd during the rutt are also quickly escorted back to the harem.

All this flexing, fighting, posturing and herding means less time to feed and more energy used, other males are thus able to oust dominant males from time to time but it is still the “crème de la crème” that are in charge. This ensures that only the best genes are allowed to filter into the next generation of impala. Impala ewes tend to synchronize their cycles and this in turn results in most of the fertilization happening at a similar time.

Impala ewes have a 6–7-month gestation that results in a mass birthing of lambs in late October into early November. It is often said that Impala have the ability to delay the birth of their calves until after the first rains. This is most likely a fallacy fueled by naturalists noticing the Impalas’ uncanny synchronization with its environment. The Impala simply get their timing spot on due to the system mentioned above. Early births are possible if early rains lead to better condition of the ewes that could lead to more rapid fetal development. If rains are late and ewes lose condition, they could re- absorb a fetus or abandon still born or weak calves, that are rarely if ever seen by humans.

Our first report of a calf being born was late in October and by the end of the month many healthy little calves were frolicking in the herds.

That’s all from us 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.

Hope to see you soon! Keith and the Inyati team.


October bushtales

Safari greetings……
As temperatures slowly rise and the humidity increases, we have had the first few sprinkles for the season. These very light downpours driven mostly by the temperature drops brought about by the last cold fronts washing over the lowveld.
The Natal Mahogany trees in camp are flowering in anticipation of the new season and the camp is filled with the sweet scent of spring in the early morning and late afternoons. All the flowering trees have attracted bees and birds, and birds feeding on the bees. The result is a beautiful cacophony of Bird calls as the birds shake off their winter slumber and prepare for mating and a time of plenty.

The impala ewes are all starting to show clear signs of pregnancy, with little pot bellies nurturing developing lambs. The impalas have certainly benefitted from the previous rainy season, and it seems that the rate of conception is up to the impressive norm. Research has indicated that up to 98% of ewes over two years old can conceive, this certainly seems to be the case and we look forward to a massive recruitment in November.

The change in season and a bit of precipitation has caused a slight flush of grass and the hardier fast growing tree species are budding, many of the animals that were utilizing Inyati’s garden for grazing and browsing have reluctantly dispersed, leaving the resident Inyala to rule the roost again.

The elephants that did their best to consume the garden in the winter months, tend not to visit the lodge as frequently, to the delight of the ground keeping staff.
We have had amazing lion viewing from camp as the Othawa pride hardly ever move away from the abundant food source that the Sand River provides. They killed a massive Kudu bull in front of camp and numerous impalas and even a buffalo just west of Inyati.

The resident leopard have reacted to the lions presence around Inyati and we have seen less of them in camp. They do still pass through, but they no longer have the luxury of lazing on the lawn as their larger more dominant competitors scent linger in the air.
An old buffalo bull has been spending evenings between the river and the camp as the soft grasses on the banks of the river are more manageable for his weary molars. He seems to be blind in one eye and as a result has given many a ranger the scare of his life on the way back to the staff village. The old boy simply stops and listens to whatever is approaching and by the time a flashlight reveals his presence he is often at very close quarters. Luckily only egos have thus far been bruised.

Bush beat…….
The Othawa pride as mentioned is doing very well. The six little cubs are growing at a rapid pace as their mothers and aunt keep providing meals and keeping their little bellies bulging.

The one Tumbela male lion are also benefiting from the Othawa lioness’ hunting prowess, and the one male is now developing an impressive strawberry blonde mane. He has also proven to be a very patient father, by lion standards, often letting cubs clamber and play on him. But cubs are often reminded of his status with a snarl and a metered swat.

His brother is still battling with his leg injury, but he is managing to keep up with the pride and shares the meals provided. Let’s hope his condition keeps improving as we head into the rainy season.
The leopard Tlangisa and both her cubs are doing well. She still needs to manage killing and avoiding the Tsalala lioness and at times the one Tumbela male lion.
On one occasion she made a kill and the lions arrived shortly after as they respond to the alarm call emitted by impala. Tlangisa spotted the lions closing in and quickly dragged her kill through a thicket to reach a tree to hoist it, in the process she sustained a bad cut to her right back leg. She was able to larder the kill out of reach of the lions and the scavenging lions moved off during the night.

The following morning Tlangisa was found with her cubs by the Sand River, she led the two cubs to the kill, quite precariously hoisted but safe. The cubs managed to feed on the kill, even though it was hoisted as high as Tlangisa could go, on a thin limb of a knob thorn tree. The cubs acrobatic and balancing skills were on display as they fed and managed not to fall. 
After this encounter, Tlangisa moved into her normal haven, a lush drainage line with a myriad of tributaries. The drainage line supplies her with ample structure and cover to hide her kills form the lions and keep her cubs safe. She was found on an impala kill in this drainage and we are happy to report that her injury healed well and hardly broke her stride.

Staying with leopards both Basile and Khokovela are pregnant, and we are monitoring their movements very closely. Khokovela seems to have shifted her territory west, further away from Nyeleti and embracing Ravenscourts domain, and her natal territory, once again.

The end of the dry season sees a die off grassy thickets that usually conceal the smaller cats and creatures. We have had some great sightings of Honey Badgers, Mellers Mongooses, and Servals of late.

A very special find was an African wild Cat den site.  The mother and her little kitten found refuge in an old termite mound in a clearing .This allowed Rangers to get to see the pair without disturbing them. Roger managed to get this amazing shot of the kitten.

Special feature……

Humans have used fire to manipulate our environment for centuries. The ability to manipulate and harness fire may well have paved the way to our domination of the planet, whether this is a positive thing is a debate for a campfire and many bottles of wine.

Conservationists in Africa have also used fire as a management tool for many years and research is ongoing into fire regimes best suited for the many different habitats in Southern Africa. This overview only skims the surface of these intricacies in order not to put you to sleep.
The theory behind burning as a land management tool is to simulate natural occurrences as far as possible. Historically vast tracts of land used to burn in the late winter, ignited by humans or even lighting strikes, fueled by hot dry winds and tinder box like vegetation. These fires were allowed to burn unhindered by modern fire breaks, roads, crops, or villages. If there was enough fuel and conditions suited, it would burn.

Fire is known to promote the growth of certain species of grass, especially grasses that tend to be more palatable to animals. It would seem grasses have thus adapted to fire under the correct circumstances. Animals tend to have preference for certain species of grass due to digestibility and palatability, or they just taste good. So, these grasses are grazed heavily and tend to diminish in number if many animals are in the area. The unpalatable, less yummy species start dominating as they are grazed less So in broad terms, over or under grazing could lead to a dominance of certain species of grass that in the long run leads to monotonous areas of “undesirable” veld(bush).

In the Greater Kruger National Park annual surveys are done to determine the composition of grass species across different types of veld. Also, the amount of tonnage of grass per hectare is measured and woody species are recorded. This data is used to monitor veld condition and plan burning regimes and to test burning regimes.
You can imagine the mammoth task and the amount of data collected and processed over the past 30 to 40 years. This data allows the ecologists and conservationists in the Greater Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin to make decisions on when and where to burn.

In summation, fire can be a very good thing for the bush by: 
· Leveling the playing field for grasses, 
· opening areas by killing saplings of encroaching woody species,
· removing old (moribund) grass and allowing light to ignite the growth of new palatable grass shoots and promoting palatable grass species.

This year the ecologists found indicators that some areas were ready to be burnt and Inyati has burnt a large block north of the Sand River.

One fire was a wildfire that burnt in from the north and was stopped to protect infrastructure, but the other fire was a controlled burn that was managed and done by reserve staff and all our neighboring lodges.
These large areas are burnt from the perimeter of the designated area and left to burn as naturally as possible. This creates a patch mosaic type burn where many areas are left unburnt and drainage lines and natural barriers to fire create a natural patchy burn. These patchy burns allow small animals to reestablish quickly as there is still cover available after the burn.

The larger mammals and reptiles can avoid the fire as the fires move slowly and are done on cool days with little wind. As the grasses have evolved with fire mammals have also adapted to fire and are generally unscathed.
 We have had some rain after the burn and the beautiful green flush of grass is already evident and the grazers are happily munching on yummy grass now. 

We look forward to hosting you at Inyati Game Lodge and sharing an experience which typifies the African safari, without compromising on accommodation and incredible game viewing.  

Keith and the Inyati team

Inyati Game Lodge: You Can Never Go Wrong with a Classic Big 5 Safari

By Katharina Riebesel on September 20, 2021

Lion, rhino, leopard, buffalo and elephant – Africa’s Big 5 never seem to disappoint. Seasoned safari-goers know that the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa is one of the best places to observe these animals in their natural habitat. Together with three of my colleagues, I had the opportunity to travel to Sabi Sand and spent two nights at Inyati Game Lodge.

Not only did we spot all five of the Big 5, but we also witnessed a leopard hunt of a different kind and managed to snap images of rather shy bush inhabitants.

A small pride of lions in the South African bush
Keen to see Africa’s big cats up-close? Photo credit: Katharina Riebesel

Upon arrival, with a homemade lemonade in hand (cheers!), I soak in the captivating views from the lodge’s main area. Manicured lawns lead down to the almost entirely parched Sand River, with giant, ancient trees fringing this beautiful scene.

Other guests can’t hide their excitement as they show us a video of a large elephant bull that was nibbling on a tree right next to the terrace only a few minutes ago. That’s the fascinating thing about an unfenced safari lodge like Inyati; you never know what animals wait behind the next corner – or rather bush or tree.

After our refreshing welcome drink, I can’t wait to see my home for the next two nights. My suite is one of the family units and comes with inquisitive neighbours – a group of vervet monkeys on the thatched roof! Not only does my room overlook the lawn and riverbed, but it’s also conveniently located, right next to the swimming pool. The large king-size bed and two single beds offer enough space for a family of four – and plenty of room for me!

Face-to-Face with Inyati’s Big Cats

After a quick inspection of my room, it’s time for our first game drive. I head to the safari vehicle with a warm jacket in hand and a camera around my neck. Here, we meet our guide George and our tracker Solly.

Inyati Game Lodge: George and Solly tracking in the bush
George and Solly tracking in a dry riverbed, Photo credit: Katharina Riebesel

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a good and a great safari? Without a doubt, it comes down to your tracker and guide duo! And we were indeed lucky with our bush experts! 

George has been tracking wild animals for more than 30 years, mostly alongside Solly. “I know Solly better than my wife,” George jokes. We believe him. It’s undeniable that the two are a well-rehearsed team. While driving past watering holes and trees, they share stories about a lioness and her cubs.

The bush smells pleasantly sweet and is much drier than on my Kruger safari in December. Impala, wildebeest and giraffe have taken over the area around the lodge’s airstrip, a stunning sight. Such open areas are always good for observing plain game.

Not long into our drive, we spot our first big cat. A male leopard with obvious Lion King ambitions poses on a round boulder in the middle of the dry riverbed. We watch him for a moment while George gives us a quick lecture about the area’s leopard dynasty. We saw no other leopards other than this dominant male.

A Delightful Surprise in the Bush

My favourite part of our afternoon adventure is a short drive across a flooded bridge in a wet area of the Sand River. About half a dozen hippos have made themselves comfortable in this natural rock pool. And, if you listen very carefully, you can even hear their deep rumbling from the lodge.

A pod of hippos near the Inyati Game Lodge
Say hello to Inyati’s pod of hippos. Photo credit: Katharina Riebesel

To our surprise, we don’t immediately return to the lodge. Instead, George drives us to a small clearing in the middle of the bush. A flickering bonfire flanked by safari vehicles, set tables and a braai station awaits us. The kitchen team is preparing salads, sauces, and hearty side dishes. A romantic dinner in the bush – the Inyati Game Lodge team has truly pulled off this surprise! Wrapped in blankets, we enjoy our starters under the sparkling night sky.

Of course, all Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to – not just during dinner but throughout our stay. Starters and desserts are served directly at the tables, and then each group goes to the buffet separately for their main course. My favourite dish of the evening is the braised oxtail with vegetables, a South African classic.

A Different Kind of Leopard Hunt

The next day, we follow a young female leopard through the dense bush – an excellent opportunity to train our gymnastic skills while avoiding branches and leaves. Then, suddenly, the leopard starts to stalk. Well, that’s what it looks like to us! So, we try to keep up with her.

We find her excitedly sitting in front of a dense bush that makes unfamiliar, outraging sounds. “That sounds a lot like a honey badger uninterested in playing catch,” George says. After a few minutes, the female leopard loses interest in her playmate, and we drive on.

Dwarf mongooses near Inyati Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Hi there, dwarf mongooses. Photo credit: Katharina Riebesel

From Small to Mighty Creatures

To our left and right, tiny dark grey figures keep appearing in the long, dry grass. George stops the car so we can have a closer look at the grey mongooses. It’s usually rather tricky to get these elusive animals in front of the lens, but I’m lucky this time.

The fascinating thing about the African bush is that it’s home to small and mighty creatures alike. Only moments later, a large herd of buffalo surround us. George estimates the size of the herd to comprise at least 200 animals. This could not be a better end to our safari, as “Inyati” is Zulu for buffalo.

Inyati Game Lodge Highlights

  • Classic safari design and ideal for spotting the Big 5
  • “Safari cinema”: Game viewing from the lodge possible
  • Delicious, hearty meals with African influences
  • Surprises like dinner in the middle of the bush
  • Experienced guides and trackers like George and Solly

Inyati Game Lodge is ideal for…

  • Families: There are three spacious family rooms not far from the common area and the open lawns. The lodge also offers a fun-filled ranger programme for children.
  • Photographers: Whether you are a professional or amateur wildlife photographer, you can look forward to first-class photo opportunities. As the Inyati guides are allowed to drive off-road, you will get very close to lions, leopards, elephants, but also smaller animals like mongooses and birds.

Would you like to experience a classic Big 5 safari on your next African holiday? Let our experienced travel experts plan your unforgettable stay at Inyati Game Lodge.

Inyati Game Lodge: You Can Never Go Wrong with a Classic Big 5 Safari

September bushtales

Rolling lawns at Inyati…….

Safari greetings……

Days have slowly but surely become longer, and long chilly nights are washed away with more vibrant sunrises as we head toward spring.

 Winter is far from over, the dusty dry landscape is very much proof of this.

The Sand river snakes through the reserve like a green vein, providing life giving water to the parched environment that in turn provides browse and grazing for the secondary producers like impala, nyala, kudu and bush buck.

The concentration of food along the banks of the sand river draws and keeps the herds on it banks, this in turn attracts predators to the abundant food source.

The lion prides have had kills on the river and our resident leopard are also thriving.

The Inyati philosophy is one of being part of the environment, this is evident with the camp not being fenced. Animals wonder through the grounds freely and the concentration of game in camp in the late winter can be spectacular. Our resident herd of nyala and impala feasting on our indigenous gardens. We have decided to view them as part of the garden rather than the consumers of it, the gardener’s relationship with them remains ‘complicated’ though.

A bull elephant took a liking to the Aloes in camp, and he created havoc as only a five-ton pachyderm can. Unfortunately, some days the aloe gardens were pruned with the finesse of a cyclone, but these are the punches we roll with in the bush. The bull has had his fill and moved on, and the gardeners are propagating aloes.

Our resident leopards have still been passing through camp, creating unique viewing opportunities, and keeping the nyala herd on their toes.

The Tumbela males have settled with the Othawa pride and have been spending a lot of time close to camp. As the males settled, they have now been vocalizing every night in an attempt to maintain their new territory. Magical evenings around the fire with lions roaring in the background have become a regular dinner treat at Inyati.

Bush beat…….

The Othawa pride has managed to maintain their little pride, all the cubs are doing well and growing strong.

The pride brought down a buffalo in the Sand river, it seems the new males have been assisting the pride in brining down larger prey like the formidable Cape buffalo. The days of leisure are numbered for the old buffalo bulls along the Sand river.

Tumbela male lion

The Tumbela males certainly have lion hearts, or they seem to bite off way more than they can chew.

Two of the males were spotted from the lodge at early morning tea, and tea was cut short! We rushed out to see the two boys at sunrise. On arrival it was evident that there had been a scuffle at the pan north of the lodge, and a drag mark led into the pan. The two males had attempted to pull down a young hippo bull!

The visibly upset hippo bull was still in the pan keeping a lazy eye on the two lions. We sat with the lions enjoying the warm sunrise when the hippo lost his nerve and tried to make a run for the safety of the river. The one male was on the hippo like a flash, but then pure physics failed the lion. The two-ton beast had built up a head of steam and was now hurtling toward the river, downhill. The lion held on to the hippo’s substantial rump and bit his tail like a poor rider tugging at reins.

 The lion certainly inflicted some damage but was dragged across the Sand rivers banks and was forced to “jump ship” as the hippo hit the water.

The hippo was left with a pain in the butt and the lion with a dent in the ego and a lesson in perspective.

Two new male lions have been visiting the north, they ventured into the Sabi Sand all the way from the Matimanthle area in the Kruger National Park.

These males could have posed a serious threat to the Othawa cubs if the Tumbelas were unable to fend them off. We found one of the Nwalungu males visibly shaken after following his tracks running in from the east. Our eastern neighbor confirmed that one male lion had been killed by hyena. His traumatized brother ran into the lodge area the following morning and has been keeping his head down since. This probably means the end of the road for the Nwalungu as one male taking over a territory is unlikely.

Tlangisa and cub

Tlangisa has been able to keep her cubs alive even though they had another close shave. She was with her cubs on an impala kill when one of the lioness’ from the Tsalala pride arrived. The cubs scampered up a tree together and the mother was isolated in another tree nearby. Patience often equates to survival in the wild and the little cubs passed this trial with flying colours. The cubs simply stayed in the tree with the lioness at the base staring up at them. It took a full day for the lioness to lose interest and move off.

 Tlangisa waited for the lioness to move out of sight, called the cubs down and marched them straight to the safety of their rocky den site.

The cubs are still developing integral survival skills and nerves of steel.

Species feature……

You may well have noticed that we never post updates of rhino sightings on social media, and we discourage guests from posting any rhino images they may get during a safari at Inyati. This policy is unfortunately necessary to ensure the safety of the rhino population within the Sabi Sand and Greater Kruger National Park.

 In China, unfounded beliefs that the horn can cure cancer and increase virility have driven the monetary value of rhino horn to astronomical values. This has created a very intricate criminal network to poach and traffic rhino horn from Africa to China. In short, the African rhino population is under massive threat of extinction in the wild as a result.

Inyati and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin are proud to be part of one the most effective anti-poaching operations on the planet. This is not only due to the incredible work of the men and women on the ground, but also to every single guest that visits the reserve. Inyati and the Sabi Sand Wildtuin channels revenue from guests straight to the anti-poaching operation. The anti-poaching effort uses the lion’s share of the reserves budget to keep our rhino, and all animals in the reserve safe.

Every visitor to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin hence makes a huge contribution in the fight against rhino poaching by visiting Inyati and our neighbors.

Veterinary intervention is usually very limited in the reserve and we only “lend a hand” if an animal is injured because of humans or human infrastructure. But in the case of rhino, we do whatever we can to ensure we do not lose a single animal.

Two large rhino bulls had a territorial battle earlier this month. One bull sustained some injuries to his front and hind legs in the fight and rangers were asked to monitor the animal and report back on his movements and injuries. A while after the fight it looked like the wound had turned septic and it was for a vet to intervene.

As you can imagine, treating a wild rhino bull comes with many challenges. One must find the animal, dart it with a sedative to immobilize it, get a team in quick to monitor vitals and start the work needed in as short a time as possible to minimize stress, then get the team out safely, administer a reversal drug and monitor the animal’s recovery. Simple.

With a team of dedicated guides, rangers, security personnel and a fantastic vet this mammoth task was done without any hiccups.

We were glad to hear that the animal is healing well and should make a full recovery, hopefully not to fight another day.

We would like to thank each and every visitor to the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and Inyati Game Lodge for making these conservation and Anti-poaching efforts possible.

Hope to see you soon!

Keith and the Inyati team

New Look For Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve

The team from Inyati Game Lodge are pleased to announce a substantial  refurbishment of the lodge, which is set in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park.Inyati-veranda-area

Major structural renovations of the central recreational areas include an extension of the main veranda area to capitalise on the uninterrupted scenes of the Sand river and its rich game viewing opportunities.Inyati-veranda-area

The expanded dining area has been fitted with comfortable but practical fittings to ensure a more spacious entertainment experience that enables guests to take full advantage of the spectacular riverfront location.Inyati-Coffee-station

The traditional open-aired boma has been completely rebuilt to create a warm, inviting space where guests can enjoy dining under the magnificent African night sky while enjoying Inyati’s hearty, home-style cuisine.Boma dinner

At the same time, all eleven rooms have gained a beautiful soft upgrade with a new colour palette of luxurious furnishings and indulgent outdoor showers have been added to all the standard chalets.Outdoor shower

As part of the lodge’s aim to provide a comprehensive and authentic bush experience, Inyati rates now include a selection of house beverages in addition to the two game drives per day, guided safari walks, fishing, all meals, high tea and Wi-Fi.Pool #inyatisafari

The enhancements have given the lodge a modern facelift while retaining the classic safari style and relaxed family atmosphere that guests have enjoyed for the past three decades.

Inyati Game Lodge Earns 2018 TripAdvisor® Certificate Of Excellence


SABI SAND RESERVE, MPUMALANGA – Thursday, 24 May 2018– Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand reserve today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its eighth year, the achievement celebrates 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 five years in a row and inducted into the ‘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 2018 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates 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 perfect trip.”

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.


INY Clear LogoSet on the lush banks of the Sand River, Inyati Game Lodge offers the ultimate safari experience combining diverse wildlife with authentic African hospitality. From the warm welcome you receive upon arrival, to our comfortable chalets, hearty home style cuisine and highly experienced guides, every guest departs with unforgettable memories and the imprint of Africa in their soul.

http://www.inyati.co.za email: res@inyati.co.za reservations telephone: +27 11 486 2027


About TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With over 600 million reviews and opinions covering the world’s largest selection of worldwide travel listings – approximately 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, attractions and restaurants – TripAdvisor provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 455 million average monthly unique visitors**, all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.

* Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, November 2017

** Source: TripAdvisor log files, average monthly unique visitors, Q3 2017



Inyati – Winner of the Wildlife Encounters category : Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016

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.Winner of the Wildlife Encounters 2016.jpg

Inyati staff receive their annual dividend from the Inyati share scheme.

AGM 2016In 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.

Inyati Game Lodge by Elaine McArdle

Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sands: the perfect South Africa Safari!

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 Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe lodge:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe Sabi River:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The grounds of Inyati:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Chalet time!

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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground The bathroom:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundThe view from our room:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Our favourite Inyati sightings:

A leopard mama and her two month old cub:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

The elusive cheetah:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Rhino bath time:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundA softer side to the king of the bush:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundAlways watching us, the buffalo herds:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundSniffing out a kill, the hyena:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplaygroundMeandering across our path, the lofty giraffe:
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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!

Hello there! Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Do you mind if I come in?!
Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

  • 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!

Breakfast views!Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground


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.

Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground


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:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

Beautiful touches:Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground


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.Inyati Game Lodge Sabi Sands South Africa Review ©thewholeworldisaplayground

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.


November 2015

Roger one of the Inyati Trackers sharing the shade of a Sjambok pod with Khokovela.

With barely a sprinkle of rain this last month the animals are starting to feel the pinch. Grazing especially is hard, with the pathfinding females of the giant buffalo herds having to really on all their experience to lead their charges to the grass that remains, or two the grass responding to the light intensities turns green in anticipation of rain that never seems to come.Ellies at Sand River show of their new calvesImpala herd Zebra herdMatriarchal elephants lead their families to the river and often three or four herds can be seen munching away on the Phragmites reeds, the newly established sedge grasses and other pioneer species. These plants are taking advantage the newly emerging islands in the river, and as such there are swathes of green all along the river. A mighty elephant bull at Inyati Game LodgeThe crusty old dagga boys are so plentiful along the river, might as well open up a golf course for them.Buffalo herd

Monkey businessThe impalas have started lambing and it is open season for the carnivores. The wild dogs take at least three or four lambs every drive, the strategy is always the same at sunrise and sunset, the adults get up, play with the youngsters a bit and head off all in one direction and spread out. The first animal they see the chase it down and rip it apart in a few minutes, this whole process may only last 15 minutes or so as they are such efficient hunters. All you have to do is hope you are in the right place at the right time. The adults then return to the pups and regurgitate a portion of their meal for the pups. As such the dogs are always full and the pups are growing quickly as they have too; as it is a tough life to be a Painted Wolf.Wild dog posing on the rock.

Wild Dogs playingNot to be out done the leopards are working day and night to keep up with the tally of the dogs. Tlangisa has had cubs but we haven’t found them yet, so she has a few mouths to feed.

Tlangisa taking down Impala lambXhikavi’s little boy is still doing very well, he is still quite shy and takes a while to calm down to his mother’s level. He is ticking all the growth boxes though as she is a terrific hunter.

Dewane - Copy

Magnificent Dewane leopard

Dewane is constantly putting pressure on his neighbors and as such we see him in the north a lot. Torchwood is often seen killing warthogs in the south and Schotia is steadily sailing her ship into her future. The magnificent Dewane male staring at the hyenas — at Inyati Game Lodge.Basile and Khokovela are giving cameos in the north and seem to be embracing their newfound freedom with the grace we have come to expect from Tlangisa.

Basile leopard

Basile (Tlangisa’s adult cub) Her name means the light one and is situated just North of the camp.

Majingilane male lions on a buffalo carcassThe bush is really dry and the river looks like it might run dry this year. So please pray for rain.Water thick-knee, Water dikkop (Burhinus vermiculatus)


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.


Keith & Francis – Managers
George (Head Guide) & Solly (Tracker)
Khimbini (Senior Guide) & Rodger (Tracker)
Matthew (Senior Guide) & Nelson (Tracker)

This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Khimbini, Keith and MatthewWe have had an unusually dry start to spring and summer

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