In the heart of Zulu land Mantis Mthembu Lodge offers a soul-reviving safari. The lodge lies on a low embankment of the White iMfolozi River and allows you to get up close and personal with the bush.
The evenings at Mthembu are quite social, with private and party dinners set in different locations around the lodge and inside the restaurant. The main lodge has an inviting lounge with a fireplace, a huge deck with a telescope and a boma with a fire pit. All this overlooks the White uMfolozi River.
Walk in the footsteps of giants on this historical piece of land which was once King Shaka Zulu’s hunting ground. In addition to the great Zulu kings, conservation legend Dr. Ian Player also spent his time in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park where he began Operation Rhino in the 1960s. uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a private concession adding 6000 hectares to the oldest proclaimed protected wilderness area in South Africa. Offering luxurious, eco-sensitive lodges, which are completely off the main power and water supplies. Operating off the grid in a pristine ecosystem, the luxury lodges are elegant with a Zulu-inspired style. Guests at Mantis Mthembu Lodge are treated to safaris over 6000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness and games drives within the greater Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve. The Experience Collector can join in the drumming and singing as Zulu youth showcase their warrior dances. Hear tales of old, of wild animals, and historical personalities as you end the day around the fire pit.
7 Private Villas with a private deck tucked into the natural setting, and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow the natural light to come flooding in, and fantastic views from every relaxation point. Perfect for the KZN, each villa has an outside shower and solar-powered air-conditioning.
Family villas Specially designed for family travel, these villas offer a comfortable family vacation for to adults and up to 3 children. Keeping to the modern, Zulu-inspired aesthetic, the family villas are well-appointed and spacious. Both have a large viewing deck, while one features a private plunge pool.
Traverse over the hills and valleys of old, right here where King Shaka of the Zulu hunted for need long before conservation was a buzz word. uMfolozi Big Five game drives are a wilderness safari for the soul; an immersion into nature as it was intended to be. Enjoy being a guest as the wild plays by its own rules. Here in the oldest proclaimed protected wilderness in Africa, the game drives are respectful of the habitat and the animals.
There are many rarities to be seen in this place where Dr Ian Player started Operation Rhino over five decades ago. The DNA of every White Rhino alive today can be traced back here. Conservation is a way of life here, and it is evident in the thriving species of wild dogs, vultures and Black Rhino.
Culture is an ever-evolving celebration of life, and what you experience at uMfolozi Game Reserve is just that – a celebration of contemporary Zulu life as experienced in the villages around the reserve. Various traditional dances and singing that warriors and maidens use to express emotion and to communicate rites of passage, and daily rituals.
You will meet warriors clad in skins, shoulder coverings called ‘imbata’ and aural ornaments that create rhythmic sounds as the young men canter and kick. Their dances vary, including a dance called ‘ushameni’ which tells tales of boy herders performed with no drums and the men to wear shin coverings made of the hair from cows’ tails called ‘ishoba’. Young warriors also perform ‘indlamu’, which is performed to the beat of drums and the men wear sheepskin adornments.
Zulu Maidens share demonstrations from their rite of passage rituals such as marriage, ‘umhlanga’ (the Reed Dance for unmarried women) and ‘uMhlonyana’ (hibernation at puberty). The dance is called ‘incekeza’ which the ladies perform adorned in lots of beads.