January 10

The Silvan Story – Where it All Began: Silvan Safari Blog


January 10, 2024

Since Silvan Safari officially opened in 2018, it's written its fair share of chapters. The last six years have seen the story of Silvan brought to life and blossom into a bushveld bouquet of dreams. But where better to start this story than at its very beginning…

Lanterns lit at night on the jackalberry main deck at Silvan Safari

We feel incredibly lucky to have spent the past six years with all of you

Choosing the Silvan Safari Setting

The plan was initially to have Silvan Safari somewhere entirely different from where it is today. However, when Silvan Safari's owner and founder, David Ryan, was on a walk surveying the property, he turned a corner while walking along the Manyeleti riverbed and saw enormous jackalberry and leadwood trees along its bank. 

Captivated by the scene, he sat down and took some time in the atmosphere and energy of the setting. David maintains that sitting on the sand of the Manyeleti and basking in the magnificence of arboreal royalty, something stirred his spirit and soul that day. And it was then that he chose this spot as Silvan Safari's new home. Or, rather, it chose him.

Like with most great ideas backed by visionary leadership and David's excitement and passion, the journey from this point progressed rapidly. As eloquently and intuitively as the way the trees spoke to the selection of the site, so too came Silvan's theme, ethos and stylisation. 

The jackalberry main area at silvan safari

The jackalberry main deck allows for magnificent views of the Manyeleti riverbed

Crafting Silvan Safari's Style 

Silvan Safari was always meant to be different, and featuring modern architecture and a baby grand piano in the middle of a dining room in the African wilderness is perhaps the boldest realisation. But there's far more to it than this. 

The team conceptualising the lodge was made up of visionaries with years of experience in the safari industry. Perhaps the desire to depart from a typical safari style was inspired by this. It's no accident that at Silvan Safari, there's an overwhelming lack of classic safari colours. You'll struggle to find any khaki or thatch through the lodge. 

Similarly, in place of wildlife prints and photography, our walls are adorned with contemporary art commissioned explicitly for the lodge. These little details and the careful curation of every element of the lodge make Silvan Safari so spectacular. Even seasoned safari-goers remark that there is nowhere quite like it. 

Leadwood Suite at Silvan Safari

Vibrant, contemporary design is present throughout Silvan's spaces... no olive green or thatch in sight!

Our Resident Leopard, Tiyani

Tiyani's life is woven into the Silvan Safari story's fabric. To say it's her home is an understatement. She has held territory in the vicinity of the lodge since reaching independence. But far more than just being seen in the area, she has made herself very comfortable at the lodge itself. 

Perhaps the most notable example was when she delayed the construction of our Ansellia Spa by choosing a sheltered section of the site as the ideal spot for a den site to give birth to a cub. Fittingly, this cub, named Ndzutini, is also regularly seen around the lodge and spends almost as much time on the decks of our suites as our guests do.

Tiyani, female leopard

Even after all this time, we love getting visits from Tiyani

Wowing at the World Travel Awards

When something is approached with such intention and vision, it can be no surprise that it fulfils its purpose. Silvan Safari was designed to stand out and be different, creating perfectly curated experiences for its guests. 

So, it's little wonder it has been recognised as the World's Leading Luxury Lodge for six consecutive years since its opening. This award goes beyond recognising the lodge or the design of Silvan Safari but is a badge of honour worn by all who contribute meaningfully to make it worthy of such a title. 

Our staff set the standard for every experience, and their attention to detail, care, and grace is what truly sets Silvan Safari apart. In fact, they make service an art form, beautifully crafted and curated to seamlessly harmonise with all that surrounds it.

Silvan Safari tracker at work

Our amazing team make us who we are

On The Horizon 

So, what does the future hold for Silvan Safari? That's remarkably simple. To continue bringing dreams to life, making magical moments and celebrating the connection of all living things in true Silvan Safari style. 

Contact us today, and let's start planning your Silvan Safari adventure! 

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About the author 

Brad Mitchell

With a deep-set love of the outdoors and making moments count in all aspects of life, nothing makes Brad happier than taking in sunrises and sunsets. He can often be found either running, surfing or playing sports somewhere in Cape Town. Having grown up a stone's throw from Kruger, Brad jumped at the chance to live in the Cape and has never looked back since! With a background in all things Marketing, he is driven by creativity and turning crazy ideas into real-life actions!

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