by David Ryan on June 18, 2020
9 min read

There is no escaping it – we at Rhino Africa are a quirky mix of travellers and adventurers. Some of us fancy ourselves as the jet setting life of luxury, while others prefer things more rough ‘n tumble. Either way, we take our travel with a double G&T and a hot towel. We leave only footprints whether Gucci or Merrel, and take only memories. But above all we have always prided ourselves on our first-hand destination and product knowledge. We love Africa. We have slept in the beds and have experienced Africa’s magic enough times to make us itch to share it with our guests.

What do I mean by Product and Destination?

By definition a Product denotes a place where a guest can stay within a destination (think a hotel or lodge), while a Destination denotes a place that people will make a special trip to visit (think country or area). A Destination is therefore often the amalgamation of various Products.

Often when our clients contact us they have already settled on a particular Destination they would like to visit. This is where Rhino Africa’s Travel Experts use their first-hand experience to choose the right Product to meet our guests exact personal requirements when creating personalised itineraries to Africa.

There are however a few very occasions when both Product and Destinations combine to form a powerful safari experience. Here is a look at our top three Products that are Destinations in their own right.

Londolozi Private Game Reserve

Home of the original safari – Londolozi is synonymous with leopards! Over the past forty plus years, the leopards of Londolozi have developed legendary status, owing to the truly remarkable partnership between the leopards, rangers and trackers. Usually regarded as elusive, shy and solitary, these elegant, patient cats are more easily observed at Londolozi than anywhere else in Africa.

Safari tourists on a game drive with Londolozi

The best place in the world to view and photograph leopards. Photo Credit: Londolozi

The progenitor of this extensive tree will be forever known as Mother Leopard. This leopard has almost mythological status at Londolozi. It was the first leopard to be clearly sighted after five long years of restorative land management and conservation in the 1970s. The appearance of this young female – who was to become known as Mother Leopard and produce nine litters of cubs – was the beginning of a relationship between man and wild leopard the likes of which the world had never seen.

This partnership of man and animal, which has endured over the decades, has become symbolic of Londolozi’s search for a new way forward. While the lessons learnt have ostensibly been about leopards, they are simultaneously about humility and respecting sanctity. They recognise a world, where it is possible to share each other’s space in harmony and for mutual benefit. Through the revelations of Mother Leopard, the Londolozi family has moved towards a deeper understanding of a sustainable future for all.

Back to nature

Man and the land are inseparable – this has been the long lesson that conservation has taught the team at Londolozi and consequently man is obliged not just to protect but also to restore the land. At Londolozi the care of the land has been an enduring theme on their agenda and one where human intervention has proven sound and beneficial.

Product & destination in one: Londolozi Private Game Reserve

The pristine wilderness of Londolozi Private Game Reserve. Photo Credit: Londolozi

At the outset, the primary objective of founders Dave and John Varty was to demonstrate that man and wildlife can interact on a sustainable basis. The Londolozi land was nurtured back into abundance through an ambitious programme. They recreated river systems, restored natural drainage lines, restocked and rebuild the productivity of the land. The results are truly remarkable: Londolozi is a uniquely diverse reserve supporting a dazzling array of animals, and why Londolozi is a Destination in its own right!.

Famous for its incredible leopard population, Londolozi covers a staggering 14,000 hectares of private wilderness in the heart of the famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve – a privately-owned, 64,000-hectare extension of the Kruger National Park.

Needless to say, we have a great relationship with Londolozi – it’s one of our absolute favourite places to visit. It’s fun, unpretentious, luxurious and family-run. The Vartys really do go the extra mile to make everyone’s stay incredibly personal and special.

The magical Londolozi Portfolio

Amazing product: The Londolozi Tree Camp

Tree Camp, nested in the ancient leadwood trees. Photo Credit: Londolozi

Five immaculate lodges make up the Londolozi Portfolio. Their offer ranges from the more affordable Varty Camp, which takes children of all ages, to the top-end Relais and Chateaux accredited Granite Suites. With six suites surrounded by dense foliage, Londolozi Tree Camp is small, intimate and romantic, offering a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Londolozi Varty Camp has eight chalets and two suites, while Londolozi Founders Camp has seven superior chalets and three family suites with a contemporary African feel and no shortage of luxury. Londolozi Pioneer Camp offers elegance and seclusion with three suites all oozing a classic safari ambience. The Londolozi Private Granite Suites meanwhile comprises three private suites which offer an extraordinary experience for the exclusive use of six guests.

There is no shortage of reasons to visit Londolozi – they not only invented safari – they continue to define it!

Tswalu Private Game Reserve

Spanning across three countries, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the Kalahari Desert covers a massive area and there are numerous luxury lodges from which to choose, but our personal favourite is Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve.

Keen supporters of wildlife and conservation projects, Nicky and Strilli Oppenheimer have won awards for their generous commitment to preserving the habitat and encouraging education in the field of conservation. They received the prestigious World Wildlife Fund – Lonmin Award for environmental conservation. The award recognises those who promote a culture of sustainable use and conservation of our natural heritage. It was awarded to the Oppenheimers for their active and involved support of conservation projects, aiming to foster the biodiversity of South Africa’s mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles and vegetation.

A pangolin near Tswalu Motse Lodge

The pangolin, a unique sighting at Tswalu. Photo Credit: Tswalu Motse Lodge

Discovering the Kalahari

In terms of biodiversity, Tswalu Private Game Reserve in the Kalahari has in abundance. Tswalu not only promises you animals you never see elsewhere, like aardvark, pangolin, meerkats, black rhino, wild dog, cheetah, black maned lions – the list is endless! It also offers unparalleled luxury. Whether you stay at The Motse or Tarkuni, both lodges are surrounded by vast open expanses of Kalahari desert landscape.

Luxury room at Tswalu Tarkuni Lodge

Understated elegance, luxury and tranquility. Photo Credit: Tswalu Tarkuni Lodge

Located on Africa’s largest private game reserve, The Motse accommodates 20 guests in eight individual suites, made from local desert sand and with thatch roofs. Tarkuni was built in a remote valley in the Kalahari, offering guests a secluded and luxurious experience. Ideal for small groups and families, the lodge can accommodate 10 guests.

Stunning destination and product: The wilderness around Tswalu Motse Lodge

This product is the perfect social distancing destination. Photo Credit: Tswalu Motse Lodge

The name Kalahari is derived from the Tswana word “Kgala”, meaning the great thirst, or “Kgalagadi”, meaning the waterless place. But at Tswalu, you will drink, eat and be filled with a life of luxury!

Ellerman House

In my opinion, this superb luxury “home away from home” is one of the finest hotels in the world. It is based in one of the finest locations, ideal for discerning guests accustomed to the finer pleasures of life. Ellerman House is a historical landmark in the wind free and premier Cape Town suburb of Bantry Bay. The private balconies and Villas offer exceptional views from the Atlantic Ocean to Robben Island.

Ellerman House pool with sea views

Exquisite views of the Atlantic Ocean and Robben Island. Photo Credit: Ellerman House

Ellerman House is one of only two Relais & Chateaux hotels in Cape Town and one of only 14 Purple Shield Hotels in the world! The true splendour of Ellerman House rests in the preservation of its historical architecture, its wellness, wine and art curation.

Boasting Africa’s first Sleep Rooms, Ellerman’s is a wellness destination like no other. Art is the wistful soul of Ellerman House. It boasts a personally and meticulously curated collection of South African art that tells the diverse story of South Africa.

A South African Art Collection like no other. Photo Credit: Ellerman House

The works span over two centuries, from Thomas Bowler commemorating Cape Town in the 1800s to more recent pieces from artists such as William Kentridge and his striking social commentary work in Ellerman House’s Contemporary Art Gallery.

Product with state-of-the-art wine cellar

Ellerman House’s impressive wine gallery, pays homage to one of South Africa’s most celebrated industries. The hotel’s 7500-strong collection of South African wines represents both established and emerging labels from the world-renowned Cape Winelands.

State-of-the-art wine cellar at Ellerman House

Ellerman House’s state-of-the-art wine cellar. Photo Credit: Ellerman House

Many of the wines in the Ellerman House’s wine gallery are rare or special releases. They have been augmented by sought-after vintages bought at private auction. Wines from the cellar are only made available on the hotel’s wine list once they have been optimally aged and are deemed ready for enjoyment at peak maturity.

Ellerman House is the perfect springboard from which to discover the Cape’s many attractions. These include sun-drenched beaches, word class restaurants, Table Mountain, spectacular scenic drives, golf courses, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and some of the special places that only Capetonians know. But it is also a destination in its own right and you will be forgiven for not wanting to leave!

Booking with Rhino Africa – We know our Product

Whether you chose Londolozi, Tswalu or Ellerman House – or ideally all three, you are in for the ultimate treat! With over 16 years experience as Africa’s Leading Safari company, Rhino Africa is an African-based specialist tour operator. We arrange tailor-made wildlife safaris and holidays throughout Africa. Our understanding of the guest experience, combined with extensive first-hand knowledge of the product we offer, makes us experts in creating magical and memorable African holidays. Connect with one of our Rhino Africa Travel Experts and let’s start planning your African Holiday today!

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