South Africa News
Tuesday, 14 January 2014 09:23

Mateya Safari Lodge

On a visit to Madikwe Game Reserve at Mateya Safari Lodge, I woke up to melodic bird song and savannah views as a herd of impala walked into shot. I soaked up the safari  sunshine from the private, cocktail pool with spectacular waterhole and savannah views. 

The private, experienced guide and tracker team was Werner and Paul, both whom have been with Mateya for 4+ years. We were very fortunate following a pack of wild dog, who then found a lone, young buffalo. It was grim to observe the wild dog feasting on the live buffalo, all the while it groaned loudly in distress. Wild dog have to eat too... 

My Madikwe game viewing highlights: black and white rhino in their natural environment and a young male leopard, stalking an impala! Also enjoyed seeing several large breeding herd of elephant, prides of lion in very good condition, beautiful dark-patterned giraffe browsers, herds of wildebeest and guinea fowl grazing, zebra, kudu, warthog and buffalo. Bird spotting bounty included: big birds like ostrich, secretary bird and a pair of kori bustards, as well as pretty lilac breasted rollers, crimson breasted shrike, bulbuls, red and yellow hornbills and several starlings and sparrow.    

Mateya is unashamedly decadent. Safari exclusivity starts with a guide and tracker pair and a max. of four quests on the game drive vehicles. 

There are only five suites and delicious five-course dinners are served on priceless, pretty crockery. Guests get to hand pick fine wines for dinner, from the impressive 8000 bottle wine cellar. 

Mateya’s suites and relaxation areas showcase THE largest private African art collection in the world. Everywhere you look is layer, upon layer of refined interiors with artistic detailing and even more art. It was very interesting to explore the lodge with the art guide in hand, learning about the origins and symbolism of the art, ranging from Paul Augustinus magnificent, realistic animal oil paintings to Robert Glen’s life-sized bronze sculptures, to rare pieces from lost tribes of Mali, Cameroon and Benin.   

In a word - Mateya Safari Lodge is magnificent. Madikwe Game Reserve is a very scenic game reserve, with corn yellow grasses bending in the breeze, swathes of savannah with dead, Leadwood tree forests that punctuate the big, cloudless blue safari skies, framed by majestic mountains.

Hope I have tempted you to visit Mateya Safari Lodge when next in South Africa...

MATEYA FAQ’s at a glance


· A Mateya safari combines very well with a Botswana safari and our lodge is easily accessed from Gaborone ­- at a cost of £100 per couple for the two-hour door-to-door road transfer;

· Fly with FedAir from Rand Germiston (JHB) into Madikwe Game Reserve  - twice daily flights in peak season at 10h00 and again at 13h00

75 000 ha Malaria Free Madikwe Game Reserve:

·  Madikwe Game Reserve (Madikwe) is in a malaria-free zone – a huge plus for families and couples travelling on ‘babymoons’ – but the biggest draw card of the reserve - is THE PHENOMENAL GAME VIEWING!

·  Madikwe is one of the best places in Africa to spot Wild Dog. There are three packs consisting of more than 30 dogs, many of which are juveniles. Quite simply Madikwe is THE reserve in which your guests can consistently view the endangered African Wild Dog, along with many other species including predators, the second largest herd of elephant in South Africa and large herds of plains game;

·  Mateya rangers can traverse on 75 000 ha and the Madikwe, max number of vehicles per sighting is three and less for sensitive sightings. Our three vehicles are fitted with silent ear-piece radio head sets, giving the option of joining significant sightings without intrusive radio chatter. The tracker and ranger team heads out to find their own game sightings;

·  Mateya supports Madikwe reserve management’s pro-active anti-rhino poaching initiatives, including measures such as the polygraphing of ALL employees as well as ballistic records of all official armoury;

Magnificent Mateya Safari Lodge:

·  The lodge and each of the 5 suites with private cocktail pools benefit from spectacular and uninterrupted views across a waterhole and / or savannah that sweeps up onto the dramatic Tweedepoort escarpment!

·  Given that exclusive Mateya only accommodates up to a max of 10 guests in its decadent, 175 sqm suites, the lodge’s three game vehicles are configured with: 4 – 4 and 2 guests. That is, a maximum of just 4 guests per vehicle. This works particularly well for families or honeymooners who often enjoy their own private vehicle!

·  Mateya offers a flexible safari experience that is tailored to the wishes of individual guests. For example if guests tell us they want to have a lie in, they are most welcome. In winter we often have a leisurely start and a half day game drive with a gourmet picnic lunch at a scenic location in the reserve. If guests prefer, in summer we have early dinners and head out on extended evening game drives with the added advantage (and James Bond coolness!) of night vision game viewing equipment;

·  Mateya is one of few lodges in Madikwe that employs both a tracker and ranger-host combination.  All three Mateya’s experienced rangers are qualified walking guides and also avid, published photographers.  Our vehicles have benches that are better suited for photography mobility and have also just been fitted with special swivel brackets for camera stability and movement;

·  Once guests are onsite the only extra’s they would pay for is telephone and spa – no nickel and diming here.

·  Innocent, our chef extraordinaire, meets guests daily to gauge their dining preferences, from the type of cuisine, to the preferred location and ambience;  

·  Mateya features the world’s largest private collections of African art, embodying the spirit of the continent and reflecting a plethora of cultures and artistic traditions. From majestic Paul Agustinus oils to spectacular life-size bronze sculptures by Robert Glen and Donald Greig, each piece in the Mateya collection has been individually selected for its unique and enduring appeal;

·  The Mateya library has a rare collection of first edition African explorer books including Grogan’s Cape to Cairo and Cornwallis Sportsmans Guide.

Access the Mateya Image Gallery - a large lodge and wildlife photography gallery is accessible from the Mateya website

The website has a regularly updated trail camera gallery, a rangers video gallery and weekly screen saver sensational wildlife downloads. All three Mateya’s experienced rangers are published photographers.

Exclusive Retreats is an extension of Mateya Safari Lodge here in the UK. Renette Hartridge 

Published in News
Learn the Super Powers of a Bush Ranger

Perhaps it's a generational-thing, but it would appear that fewer children these days spend time playing make-believe games or climbing trees and developing their spirit of adventure. Has the advent of game consoles replaced this? Hopefully not.
With the likes of Bear Grylls turning his adventurous hand to childrens storybooks, it is likely that there is a new generation of budding outdoor adventurers aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

What better place is there for these young discoverers to fuel their imaginations than on safari? Here children become real-life adventurists exploring the natural bush in the company of rangers. It is very endearing to watch as young children are captivated by the tales of these rangers, who are soon elevated to the ranks of super hero.

At Makalali Private Game Lodge children can participate in the Junior Ranger Programme, which offers a fun-filled 2 days for kids aged 6 – 12 years.
With the excitement of the early morning game drive behind them and a scrumptious breakfast filling their tummies, kids will wave goodbye to Mum and Dad before heading off for 1 ½ hours with their newfound super-hero.

During the first day the ranger introduces children to various bush skills which will make them feel like mini Ray Mears. The kids will learn about local vegetation, including the 'toothbrush bush' and edible plants, whilst also learning how to source and purify water and other skills necessary to survive in the bush.
On the following days adventure the focus is on the animals. Rangers will teach the youngsters to identify and track the spoor. Whilst watching the animals, rangers will explain how the behaviour and warning signals can be read to ensure ones safety in the bush. This young tech-savvy generation will also be shown how one can avoid getting lost in the bush without the use of a TomTom...
The next morning the children will sit an informal test before they are presented with their graduation certificates and photos.

Much is said about the necessity to educate the next generation on conservation; they are the future custodians of protected wildlife areas. This Junior Ranger Programme will hopefully ignite that spark within them, ensuring that future adventurists preserve areas in which to explore.

Makalali Private Game Lodge provides accommodation in 4 satellite camps, each with 6 luxury suites, a communal pool, dining area, and boma. Some of the camps are equipped with family suites ensuring two kids can share with Mum and Dad. For extended families or a party of friends, these smaller camps are ideal and can make for an exclusive camp if there are at least 8 adults travelling.

Accommodation is on a full board basis inclusive of 2 game drives per day. The Junior Ranger Programme is available at a cost of ZAR300 per child.
Published in News
Thursday, 09 January 2014 10:27

Rand sinks to 4 year low against the pound

The South African rand is currently taking a beating against all major currencies. It could be the perfect time to move money into the country if you have international accounts or any outstanding invoices.

At the moment the rand is sitting at over 17.50 against GBP, which means your pounds are worth a whole lot more.

Sable FX offers industry leading guaranteed rates with no hidden fees. We have no transfer fees and funds are cleared within three working days.

If you want to take advantage of these incredible rates, please get a hold of us right now.

You can call us on 0207 759 7514 or email us at to arrange your transfer today.
Published in News

Out in Africa Safaris is an exciting new venture, run by the lovely Cecile Auersperg - a well-known Austrian horse enthusiast and accomplished equestrian.

After organising horseback safaris for many years through her company Auersperg Safaris, Cecile has now set up base in the Greater Kruger area to offer exceptional horse safaris in this incredible location

Off the beaten track, close to nature : Significant distances are often covered on a daily basis, on paths used only by animals. The rides take clients through the bush, onto open plains and along meandering rivers where little is heard, but for the horse’s hooves on the ground and the sound of nature calling. Their qualified and experienced guides are adept at getting riders up close to Africa’s wildlife.

Out in Africa use mainly Boerpherd and thoroughbred crosses that are highly responsive and well accustomed to the terrain and the wildlife in the area. They have horses suitable for all levels of riding, although they will only take riding guests that are confident in all paces.

The Selwane Nature Reserve area is a mixture of broad leafed woodland with Bush willows and Mopane being the dominant trees. This is a habitat well suited to grazing and browsing animals such as giraffe, kudu, impala, wildebeest and zebra. This reserve is in a quiet and peaceful area, mostly surrounded by private game farms and some rural African villages. The Letaba Ranch area, about twenty minutes away, is open to Kruger. Here the Mopane woodland habitat and the Letaba River attracts big herds of buffalo and elephant in the dry season from June to October.

Out in Africa have exclusive use of a 4* luxury lodge during their safaris, which is combined with nights out in the bush at fly camps. At every stop the team will have set up camp and a masseuse will be ready to work away sore muscles after a day in the saddle! Sites are chosen for their natural beauty, safety and ambiance. It is a special experience to spend a day in the saddle out in the wilderness, have a hearty meal and hot shower and then rest snuggly in your tent while the African night unfolds under the brilliant night sky.

The Kondowe Ride
6 nights lodge based, 1 night fly camp : 
Non- dangerous game viewing from horseback and one day game viewing in Kruger NP with the opportunity to see some of the Big 5, including Buffalo, Lion, Leopard and Elephant. See sample itinerary on our website.

Rack Rates
6 nights €1575 / 7 nights €1800 (extra nights are €90)

Greater Kruger Ride
4 nights lodge based, 3 nights fly camp.
Game viewing of the Big 5 from horseback. During the ride, guests have the opportunity to ride in the area of Greater Kruger, enjoying a unique safari experience by horseback. See sample itinerary on our website.

Rack rates
6 nights €1800 / 7 nights €2400 (extra nights are €90)

For more information on Out in Africa Safaris, do contact Cecile Auersperg at or see Alternatively contact Kamili on 0115-937-7475 or see

Please note : We're planning a 2014 fam trip for upto 6 UK Africa specialists. Out in Africa are looking to provide an exceptional safari for a select group of passionate horse-riders.. Dates are yet to be fixed, so if this appeals, please do contact to express your interest. This is one not to miss!

Published in News
The Office in Johannesburg has moved and there are new numbers and contact details, please update your records.

Lukimbi Safari Lodge:
dube Game Reserve:

el:  +27 11 792 6165 / Fax: +27 11 792 5026
P.O. Box 2167, Northcliff, 2115, South Africa

Physical Address: 
Unit 2, Ground Floor, Boskruin View Office Park, 9 Girdwood Road (cnr Kelly & Ysterhout Roads), Boskruin.

Thank you for all your support of these lodges, the reservations contact details are still the same:  April Knight: or

or makreting in the UK, please continue to contact: / Tel: 079 839 56739

Published in News
This month, Travel Butlers has been cracking open the bubbly to celebrate 10 years in the safari business. A decade ago, this bespoke safari holiday specialist opened its virtual doors to sell unique, personalised wildlife adventures across Southern and East Africa. Now recognised as a leading African travel expert, it was awarded the prestigious SATOA best tour operator of the year award in both 2012 and 2013. In celebration of this landmark anniversary, the company is offering an amazing one-off special offer to make incredible safari holidays accessible to all.

This week, Managing Director Paul Campbell spoke about the personal and professional journey that he and his wife Tracey have had with Travel Butlers. “Eleven years ago, we set off on a career break adventure that turned our lives upside down. We were all set to travel the world and we spent several months in South America, but as soon as we arrived in South Africa, we were hooked.”

Before long, they had decided to build a company that could bring the best wildlife experiences of Southern Africa to the UK market. As Paul explains, “We knew that we wanted to be true leaders in our field, so we spent a year travelling throughout Southern Africa to discover the perfect locations and safari holidays to offer our customers. We even trained as professional safari guides, sleeping in a basic tent in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve for a month, and tracking animals on foot for hours each day. As you can probably tell, we don’t do things by halves!”

After setting up their website from Cape Town, Paul and Tracey sold their first trip to South Africa in November 2003. Since then, they have moved back to the UK and Travel Butlers has grown and expanded to cover the whole of Southern Africa as well as Kenya, Tanzania, and the Indian Ocean. The couple still travel at every opportunity to keep their expert safari knowledge current for their customers.

Paul and Tracey are both hugely grateful to their customers, without whom Travel Butlers wouldn’t be possible. So, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, they have come up with a special offer. Right now, Travel Butlers is offering wildlife lovers the chance to pay a deposit of only £100 per person to secure their safari holiday to South Africa or Namibia in 2014. The offer is valid for all new bookings confirmed between 12 November and 31 December 2013.

This £100 deposit per person (or equivalent amount in USD, EUR or ZAR) will secure the safari lodge, hotel bookings and transfers or hire car rental in South Africa or Namibia. The balance for the holiday will be due 8 weeks before travel. If customers wish to book international flights with Travel Butlers, these will need to be paid for in full at the time of booking. On top of all this, there is no surcharge for card payments of any kind.

Find out more at

Paul and Tracey would like to thank everyone that has played a part in their Travel Butlers adventure so far, from agents to lodges to customers. They are both looking forward to bringing their amazing wildlife adventures to their customers for another decade.

Published in News
Friday, 18 October 2013 16:25

Kruger Horse Safaris

Out in Africa take guests off the beaten track and close to nature.

Significant distances are covered on a daily basis on paths used only by animals. The rides take your clients through the bush, onto open plains and along the meander of the river where nothing can be heard, but the horse’s hooves on the ground and the sound of nature calling.

Their qualified and experienced guides will take riders up close to Africa’s wildlife. Nights are spent at luxury lodges along the route combined with nights out in the bush in mobile-tented camps. At every stop the team will have set up camp ready for the guests and their masseuse will be ready to work away any sore muscles after a day in the saddle, and a skilled cook will prepare delicious meals over the fire.

The horses:
Out in Africa use Boerpherd and thoroughbred crosses mainly. They are responsive and well accustomed to terrain and wildlife in the area. They have horses for all levels of riding, although they will only take guests that are confident in all paces.

Where they ride:
The Selwane Nature Reserve area is a mixture of broad leafed woodland with Bush willows and Mopane being the dominant trees, this is a habitat well suited to grazing and browsing animals such as giraffe, kudu, impala, wildebeest and zebra. This reserve is in a quiet and peaceful area, mostly surrounded by private game farms and some rural African villages. Their stables overlook a dry riverbed in the middle of the reserve and the lodges are conveniently situated close by.

The Letaba Ranch area, about twenty minutes away, is open to Kruger, here the Mopane woodland habitat and the Letaba River attracts big herds of buffalo and elephant in the dry season, mostly from June to October.

Out in Africa set up fly camps at beautiful scenes in the heart of the bush. Sites are chosen for their natural beauty, safety and ambiance. It is a special experience to spend a day in the saddle out in the wilderness, have a hearty meal and hot shower and then rest snuggly in your tent while the African night unfolds under the brilliant night sky.

2014 Rack Rates
Horseback Safari - 6 nights €1800 / 7 nights €2400 (extra night €90)
Kondowe Safari – 6 nights €1575 / 7 nights €1800 (extra night €90)

Published in News
Staying fit and healthy while working as a game ranger or tracker in a game reserve is not as easy as it sounds. Forget about putting on a pair of trainers and heading out for a run or hopping onto a bike for a quick ride. Potentially dangerous animals are right outside the door and not even the fittest or fastest runner could ever be a match for a hungry lion or an opportunistic leopard. When they do go on leave, many of the guiding staff make straight for a bike or hiking trail to satisfy their training needs; while others opt for more adventurous pastimes - diving, sailing, fishing, and canoeing - although of course, nothing is quite as adventurous as a Sabi Sabi safari!

The mouth-watering cuisine at Earth Lodge is so sensational that it is easy to overindulge. Over the years many guests have expressed an interest in burning off a few of the "chef-induced" calories and now they have the opportunity of doing just that, thanks to the newly opened gym at Earth Lodge. Glass-fronted and looking out onto the unspoilt bushveld so as not to miss a minute of the action, the gym is a perfect place to exercise.

Small and intimate, the gym can house just a few people at a time and is equipped with a state of the art rowing machine, treadmills, training bike, mats, weights and exercise balls. Sweat towels and bottles of ice cold water are provided; while back at the suite after a workout there is always the promise of a refreshing dip in the private plunge pool or a cool-down under the outdoor shower.
Published in News
Tuesday, 13 August 2013 10:38

The only Camp in Kruger...

And could it be South Africa's most beautiful?

It surprises many to learn that Plains Camp is the only place where you can stay under canvas in the whole of Kruger. With just four guest tents, the camp is part of Rhino Walking Safaris, and usually combined with the luxurious Rhino Post Safari Lodge, which also sits within their private concession inside the Park.

At Plains Camp, the focus is fully upon walking safaris, despite the offer of game drives from the lodges in their concession and within the public areas of the National Park (which are available exclusively after hours allowing clients to experience some fabulous night drives.)

For the more adventurous client, there is also the option to stay overnight at ‘Sleepouts’ where guests literally sleep out on raised platforms under just mosquito nets and the African Sky! Everyone who “braves it” comes back saying how exciting the experience is.

And don’t forget to combine these in with Isibindi African Lodges other properties: Thonga, Kosi Forest and Isibindi Zulu Lodge for some truly incredible package prices.

Published in News
June 2013: The Protea Hotel Kruger Gate, which is located on the doorstep of the Kruger National Park, is donating 1% of its accommodation bookings to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) specifically for its rhino anti-poaching projects.

The newly refurbished hotel on the banks of the Sabie River in Mpumalanga offers an affordable luxury getaway. 
Situated only 100 metres from the Paul Kruger Gate of the Kruger National Park, the luxurious Protea Hotel Kruger Gate provides GUESTS with the ideal location from which to experience wildlife first-hand, including rhino whose numbers are increasingly threatened by poaching.

Protea Hospitality Group Marketing Manager Nicholas Barenblatt says the hotel’s proximity to these magnificent animals prompted the STAFF’s desire to contribute to their conservation.

“All the money they raise will be given to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, which has various programmes that support rhino conservation. Among their projects are a 5-day law enforcement training course, a rhino orphan response project, providing logistical and financial support for various provincial rhino conservation efforts, running awareness campaigns in rhino horn demand countries such as Viet Nam,  and the training and deployment of sniffer dogs to locate rhino horn and track poachers.

“One of the main reasons we decided to work with the EWT is because of their broad-based approach to ensuring the survival of the rhino species so that our children and their children in turn can one day see a live rhino, rather than just hear about these magnificent creatures that used to roam the African bush.”

Barenblatt says besides the accommodation spend donation, the hotel will also be selling a number of novelty items to raise additional funds, such as shirts and caps.  The hotel has also formulated an educational programme around rhino conservation which is communicated to GUESTS and children through various activations within the hotel experience.

“We are privileged to have a hotel in such an incredible location and as a company the Protea Hospitality Group feels compelled to lead the battle against rhino poaching.

“The hotel is extremely popular and this money and energy that is being put into raising the funds and awareness will make a difference.   Our GUESTS are the heroes of the day as just by them staying at the hotel whether it be on leisure or for a conference is helping us support this campaign.”

Published in News
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