We have been on a journey to reveal the heart and soul of Mantis and the destinations discovered by Mantis. This is what we found…
Travellers today are Adventurers, Explorers, Escapists or Nomads – they are searching for moments, places, adventures and destinations that will touch their lives forever. The Mantis Collection gives them access to experiences that can shape lives, and touch souls.
Whilst each Mantis destination is completely and magnificently unique in what it offers, there’s a common thread that binds the Mantis destinations together – each destination is an exceptional place to find yourself.
Mantis. An exceptional place to find yourself.
Our new messaging and imagery shows that in a world of diminishing rarity and increasing commercialisation and ubiquity, we have the destinations and experiences for those who are still searching for the exceptional, the truly rare and the inspirational.
The Devonshire Club in London is a stylish combination of West-end glamour and East End panache, and you get a modern British experience. At the heart of five floors of prestige, you will find Number Five restaurant where Michelin Star Chef, Adam Gray, serves a range of modern-British dishes.
Adam Gray is not your run-of-the-mill Executive Chef. He is a health and fitness enthusiast with a few physical feats under his belt, including Spartan sprints and Serpentine open water swims. His passion for wellness fuels his finesse in the kitchen so rest assured that the dishes at the Devonshire are seasonal and a great deal of consideration is given to where ingredients come from, if they are sustainable, and whether they ethically sourced.
With over 30 years of experience and holding a Michelin Star for over a decade; Adam’s gourmet cuisine at Number Five is a celebration of seasonality and food provenance. Using seasonal ingredients from the British Isles, every plate is an impeccable execution that displays his passion for healthy, British food.
Number Five is a 110-seater eatery illuminated by floor to ceiling garden facing windows with sumptuous leather banquette seating and stylish tables and chairs.
Number Five’s menu mirrors Devonshire Club’s seamless fusion of history and modernity, with nods towards traditional East-London fayre complemented by contemporary offerings.
uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is a 6000-hectare concession that is an extension of the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Made of tribal land owned by local tribal communities; uMfolozi is a monumental example of land reform in a time when South Africa is staring blank-faced at the Land Issue. Unused land was adjoined to existing government protected land to benefit the environment and create sustainable economic benefits for surrounding rural tribes.
Biyela Lodge is the latter of two 5-star lodges in this wilderness, and the team welcomed their first guests on the 1st of May. Enjoy this sneak peek of the lodge.
Biyela Lodge is a spectacular showcase of modern safari lifestyle tiered on a descending cliff overlooking an oxbow lagoon in the White uMfolozi River. Biyela Lodge has 12 Private Villas which are perfectly appointed with a minimalistic sense that suits the humid Zululand bush. Each Villa has a lounge area with monochromatic accents and cool greys, whites and creams. This clean, crisp theme is a beautiful contrast to the dense ever-green bushveld and a welcome reprieve from the humid atmosphere.
Standing on your private balcony in one of the Private Villas perched on the ridge; you look directly towards rock-faced cliffs dotted with ancient cave entrances.
Right below you is a cascading thicket that meets the sandy river bed where herds of elephants, buffalo, baboons, crocodiles, hippos and wild dogs may be spotted. There are over 600 bird species in the area, and sitting from your private deck you can spot a variety of them weaving about the indigenous thickets.
The middle chalets that flank the main lodge make you feel like you’re seated in a wilderness amphitheatre and encompass a wide angle view of the bushveld, river, the cliffs and the beautiful façade of Private Villas cupping the oxbow lagoon. The Family Villas are situated lower on the embankment providing more privacy and views of the river.
The guest lodge has various lounges and a large restaurant which all lead onto a large extended balcony with a fire pit and rim flow pool. There is also a bar and Africology spa with a single and 2 double treatment rooms. A range of wellness experiences is offered in the spa which is on a lower level beneath the main lounge making it a cool sanctuary where you can enjoy a peaceful revival of your mind and body.
Guests of Biyela Lodge enjoy fantastic game experiences right from their cinematic spots in the lodge and Private Villas, as well as game drives in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Big Five Reserve. The 6000-hectare uMfolozi Big Five Reserve is exclusively for our guests and because of the river, many wildlife and bird species are found here.
Elephant on the White uMfolozi River. IMAGE: Andrew Taylor
When staying at uMfolozi Big Five Reserve; guests become part of a monumental legacy of conservation, responsible land-use, and sustainable economic development for Rural Communities. All they have to do to make a difference is enjoy the best of the good life in this precious ecosystem that we have all been given the privilege of sharing with the wildlife and the people of the heavens – amaZulu.
Contact Mantis Central Reservations to book your wilderness experience.
A strategic partnership with China; renewed hope for conservation.
Worldwide Experience is a division of Mantis and spearheads the conservation project development arm of Mantis Education. Worldwide offers a range of experiences that place travellers, veterinary students and volunteers at the forefront of conservation operations.
Worldwide Experience recently hosted Giacomo Falcone of Kooka Nature in the People’s Republic of China. In two weeks, the Worldwide team showcased numerous projects and properties in South Africa and Namibia, and Kooka Nature has committed to sending groups from China on nature conservation expeditions to Africa and beyond.
This agreement enables Worldwide Experience to target audiences from the Far East with conservation messaging. The main goal is that each traveller returns to China as an ambassador for conservation and influences a paradigm shift in their communities’ attitude towards wildlife products.
Kooka Nature is a tour operator under the Qiaounyu Foundation, a powerful foundation in China with strong links to their government. The organisation has agreements to manage over 70 protected natural areas in China, some of which have been earmarked for Worldwide Experience to assist with the development of nature education camps at several of these spectacular locations.
“Give them the fields and the woods, and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit.
Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in,
its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossom. Attention is the beginning of devotion” ~ Mary Oliver
For more information about Worldwide Experience, and to become part of the ethical conservation revolution – please contact email@example.com or +44 (0) 1483 860 560.
“Rwanda is a beacon of hope and the university of Africa” ~ Adrian Gardiner, Kwita Izina 2018
Mantis has been invested in the growth of tourism and conservation in Rwanda for many years. Our interest in Rwanda began at the time Mantis consulted on the strategic plans for Akagera National Park in 2007. We found a kindred spirit in Rwanda and its people who share our commitment to conservation and restoration.
Our early work in Rwanda birthed a vision that would create a unique tourism circuit and spread economic growth throughout the provinces. In 2018 we were awarded the development and management contract of the Akagera Game Lodge. Our work at the lodge began with managing operations and upskilling the staff.
Major upgrades are underway to bring the facilities up to the Mantis standard. Akagera Game Lodge will comprise 60 bedrooms, a conference centre, restaurant, and a bar.
Once these renovations are completed in 2020, Akagera Game Lodge will be fully incorporated into the Mantis portfolio. Set on a hill within Akagera National Park, the lodge is a mere 5-minute drive from the South Entrance of the Park, 20 minutes from Lake Ihema where you can enjoy water-based safaris, and 2 hours from Kigali.
Under the management of African Parks, Akagera National Park has returned to its former glory and is home to the Big Five and nearly 500 bird species including the Shoebill and Papyrus Gonolek.
We have since then acquired EPIC Hotel & Suites by Mantis outside the Akagera National Park. This will enable Mantis guests to enter Akagera National Park in the South, enjoy a stay at Akagera Game Lodge before traversing out the Nothern gate to the resort-style luxury of EPIC Hotel.
Mantis has conceptualised a strategic plan to link the natural gems of Rwanda and we are pleased to announce that we are well on our way to creating a unique tourism loop. Our portfolio now includes Cleo Lake Kivu- a boutique marina hotel in Kibuye and The Kivu Queen, a luxury houseboat on Lake Kivu. Both are set to open in 2020, with a few more key experiences in our pipeline.
The Rwandan government is on a mission to ensure that tourism benefits all its people and that the environment is protected at all times – this is directly in line with Mantis’ core pillars.
In addition to property development and hospitality management, Mantis is also committed to creating sustainable community development opportunities in Rwanda. Together with CCFA and African Parks, Mantis is part of a huge project to populate the Lake Ihema with fish to create a much-needed source of sustenance and income for over 100 families in the area.
We are ecstatic to take over the management of Siringit Serengeti Camp, a permanent tented camp set on a migration corridor in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The camp is set on a migration corridor and guests enjoy direct views of this wildlife phenomena twice a year.
Siringit Camp is 6km from the Seronera Airstrip and one hour’s drive from ‘Nabi Hill,’ the gateway to the Serengeti National Park for guests arriving by road from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The camp has 8 tents including a 2-bedroom family tent that accommodates up to 6 people. Set on polished hardwood floors, each tent is 45 square meters in size comprising a generous private veranda leading into a plush suite overlooking the surrounding plains and wildlife. The tent interiors are made up of modernised African textures, and plush fabrics in fresh shades of whites, greys and neutrals. Indigenous greenery and woven baskets are used functionally throughout the space.
The en-suite bathroom has a flushing toilet, hardwood walls, and double porcelain vanities with nostalgic brass taps. Each bathroom has a shower with a window.
double vanity, flushing toilets and walk-in shower with hot and cold waterSiringit Camp offers shared, and private-use game drives in the Serengeti where some favourite sightings have been lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and black rhino. A visit to the famous hippo pool and balloon safaris are just some of the experiences we recommend to our guests. The migration can be seen from the camp in May and June, and in fewer numbers in August.
Exciting activities for the kids include bow and arrow shooting with the Masai warriors, learning how to make a fire the Masai way by rubbing two sticks together, roasting marshmallows on the campfire, or spear throwing lessons with mom and dad.
Siringit Camp has one of the best chefs in Tanzania. Guests are delighted with a creative menu, which consists of mainly European dishes with a dash of African flair.
The experience-collectors and curious adventurers who stay with Mantis can now also enjoy an ultimate Tanzanian bush and beach experience with Siringit Serengeti Camp and the sought-after Nungwi Dreams by Mantis which is located one of the best beaches in Zanzibar.
Conservation and eco-tourism have brought a new way of life to communities that once lived off the land. Game reserves provide an alternative to urbanisation, giving people means to provide for the families while living in harmony with the land and preserving life in the countryside. We employ people from the communities in which our properties operate, and incorporate their services into our business models. We have turned our attention to the gaps in the employment cycle, and together with Stenden South Africa and the CCFA, have set up the Mantis Community Upliftment Programme(MCUP). The MCUP is an intensive hospitality and conservation course hosted at Fish River Resort in the Eastern Cape.
The hospitality and conservation course will be facilitated by lecturers from Stenden South Africa, which is a leader in hospitality training. The relationship between Stenden and Mantis goes back to 2001 when Adrian Gardiner co-founded Stenden South Africa. Mantis has since sponsored numerous students from disadvantaged communities in the Eastern Cape and incorporated them into the ranks of Mantis establishments around the world. In 2019, the first recipients of the combined AccorHotels and Mantis bursary, Bulelwa Maxam and Tumelo Daniels, started their degrees in Hospitality Management at Stenden [read more about this]. These young women are the proud ambassadors for the Mantis Community Upliftment Programme. “When administered properly, community-based learning can be invaluable to the learner and assist in procuring permanent employment. Our hope is that this investment in the people who live around our reserves and hotels produces sustainable development in our communities.” Gardiner said.
Mantis and Stenden South Africa have joined forces to provide free week-long training for 80 people from disadvantaged communities around Fish River Resort. Mantis Collection successfully reopened and has been taking care of the Fish River Resort for the past 15 months, employing 63 people from the surrounding communities. The Hospitality and Conservation Training Course is only open to residents from the communities of Prudhoe, Benton, Nier, Bell, Peddie, Hamburg, Gcinisa, and Mgababa. The first training is scheduled to take place from the 1st to the 12th of July 2019 and the application process is underway.
Read more about the Mantis Community Upliftment programme here.
We are very fortunate at Mantis. By some profound force of goodness, every person who works in our offices, hotels, and lodges embodies the spirit of “Man And Nature Together Is Sustainable”. When we say #IamMantis; we mean it. We live it. The first member of our family that we would like to introduce you to is Mukupe Zulu who is a ranger at Lion Camp by Mantis, and a hero in his community.
Mukupa left teaching for the wilderness, but his love for educating young people never left him. He recognised that many young girls were dropping out of school and being married off prematurely, and decided to do something to influence a change in his community. He started the Mkasanga Hope Foundation in 2008. The purpose of the Foundation is to encourage girl child education in the communities around the Mwanya chiefdom which in that year, had only produced one girl matriculant.
Mukupa’s Mkasanga Hope Foundation grew and increased its awareness programmes to include wildlife conservation and health. His education programmes were mainly executed through theatre productions. He took his theatre group around the Mkasanga area and funded the entire operation from his own salary of just US$50 at the time. He has seen more parents become sensitised to the necessity of keeping their daughters in school for as long as possible.
After the renovations were completed at Lion Camp by Mantis, Mukupe received all the leftover wood, borrowed equipment from the camp, and spent his vacation making furniture for a school in the area.
Next time you venture out to Lion Camp, be sure to check out their listing on Pack-for-a-Purpose and see what you can pack in your luggage to assist Mukupe on his mission to be the change he desires to see in the world around him. You are also more than welcome to make donations to Mukupe’s cause by contacting Di Luden at CCFA.
A picture is worth a thousand words and world-acclaimed photographer, David Yarrow, is an iconic storyteller. In a lifetime of war against our natural world, his evocative and immersive photography of life on earth is aiding the global plight for conservation and Mantis is honoured to announce Yarrow as the Group’s strategic creative partner.
David Yarrow’s photography career spans over 30 years from working as a sports photographer for the London Times to shooting the latest TAG Heuer campaign featuring supermodel Cara Delevingne. Philanthropy and conservation have become central to Yarrow’s mission, evidenced in his passion for documenting the animal and human world in a fresh and creative way. Charitable donations from the sale of his images exceeded $2.2 million in 2018 with two pieces selling for £240,000 in just a few minutes at the Cara Delevingne TAG Heuer launch.
As Mantis’ creative partner, Yarrow will host private photographic tours across all seven continents, in the Group’s most exotic locations. He will deliver talks at Mantis’ global portfolio of boutique hotels and will collaborate in fundraising initiatives.
From its inception, Mantis has sought to beat the drum for sustainable conservation and creating strategic alliances that place weight on the call for the cause is at the forefront of the Group’s operating principles. Mantis recently merged with Accor Hotels and together, the hospitality groups founded the Community Conservation Fund for Africa (CCFA) – in response to the urgent need for the tourism industry to play a greater role in conservation and community upliftment which will benefit Africa’s wild animals and wilderness.
Mantis and CCFA have found a kindred spirit in acclaimed photographer, David Yarrow who is an ambassador for WildArk, on the advisory board of Tusk, and Ambassador to the Kevin Richardson Foundation.
Mantis is born of Africa. Founded by Adrian Gardiner in 2000 with a passion for creating destinations where man and nature could co-exist sustainably. After turning drought ravaged and degraded bushveld into a private conservation success story in the Eastern Cape, South Africa; Adrian’s pioneering spirit lead the growth of the Mantis Collection.
Mantis has unearthed hotels and eco-escapes across all seven continents; in far-flung corners, vibrant cityscapes, across vast African plains, and most places in between. Each with a unique spirit, yet all are linked by a collective obsession to be extraordinary, to nurture the natural environment, and preserve all that is meaningful.
Mantis is a Pioneer that searches for and uncovers new possibilities, and new destinations so that people can have access to more fulfilling lives. In a world of diminishing rarity, we partner with curious explorers who seek to discover truly rare destinations and life-affirming experiences.
ABOUT DAVID YARROW
David Yarrow was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1966. He took up photography at an early age, and as a 20-year-old, he found himself working as a photographer for The London Times on the pitch at the World Cup Final in Mexico City. On that day, David took the famous picture of Diego Maradona holding the World Cup, and as a result, he was subsequently asked to cover the Olympics and numerous other sporting events. But he refused to be pigeonholed, and his interests expanded as he grew into himself. It was only many years later that he found his true comfort zone in documenting the natural world and the last eight years have been career-defining.
By the spring of 2017, he had firmly established himself as one of the bestselling fine art photographers in the world, with the limited edition prints (just 12 in an edition) regularly selling at over $40,000 a piece and his well-received recent work is now priced even higher.
In 2016, Rizzoli New York published his latest book – Wild Encounters – with a foreword written by HRH The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William). The book was awarded “Art Book of 2017” by Amazon and has already sold out a second print run. All Yarrow’s royalties from the book continue to be donated to Tusk, the leading British NGO, that focuses on animal conservation in Africa.
Yarrow’s position in the industry has been rewarded with a wide range of advisory and ambassadorial roles. In conservation, he is an ambassador for WildArk, on the advisory board of Tusk and Ambassador to the Kevin Richardson Foundation (@lionwhisperersa). He is an Ambassador for Nikon Europe and has recently been integral to the company’s most anticipated camera release of the last decade. In December 2017 he shot TAG Heuer’s latest campaign with Cara Delevingne. In 2019, David was appointed as a global ambassador for UBS Bank.
We don’t take half-measures when it comes to location. When we say on the beach, we mean it and when we say close to Kirstenbosch Gardens, we mean right on top of it. Mantis Owners Collection offers private villas set in the best locations in Africa.
Boulders Beach Villa is right on Boulders Beach, Simons Town – a Marine Protected Area that forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Your family will have 4 en-suite bedrooms, large living areas, and a garden gate leading directly to the iconic granite boulders and a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins.
It is a swimming beach and the kids can spend hours exploring the rock pools, and clambering over the boulders which protect the beach from the wind. They will be fascinated while observing a few happy feet pattering over the white sand inlets. It is a breath-taking site and an impressive education in conservation. Simon’s Town is the home of the South African Navy and a living museum in its own right. If you would like to see the town’s charming silhouette from a new perspective, hop onto the new water bikes and enjoy a safe and environmentally friendly guided tour to Long Beach. This one is best enjoyed by the taller members of the family, as you must be at least 1.5m in height to operate the water bikes.
Wake up in one of the 6 suites at Skydance Villa by Mantis in Bishopscourt, and you’ll start each morning with a personal greeting from the Table Mountain Reserve and Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
Skydance is sprawled out on a hill in Constantia. Every moment here is camera-worthy. Have fun creating memories in this generous family home surrounded by stylish finishes and comfortable opulence. There are enough bolt-holes to enjoy private moments, but the best spaces are the big lounges, gardens, and pool house where the family can get familiar again.
Our guests receive free passes into the neighbouring Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, we can prepare some picnic baskets, and you can all make a day of it. Don’t resist the urge to take your shoes off. You can’t be in the heart of the Constantia Winelands and neglect the wine farms. Have long, lazy lunches on the lawns and terraces of some of the best wine farms and restaurants in the world. The endless lawns of these estates are lovely settings for gourmet lunches and board games under the trees.
*Children under 3 years old are accommodated free of charge at Skydance, while 4 to 12-year olds are charged R 595 per night if accommodated in an extra bed sharing a room with 2 adults.
Big Seven and Family Safari
It’s not often that children present a back-to-school oral about seeing seven of the greatest land and sea animals in Africa, all in one holiday! Stay at The Windermere by Mantis in Port Elizabeth, a 10-bedroom hotel offering an intimate setting in a convenient location. The Windermere is just a stone’s throw from the harbour where the entire family can hop onto a boat and go on an ocean safari.
We can arrange marine expeditions with licensed and responsible marine guides. You will have the chance to see whales, dolphins and all the other denizens of this unique bay. Named the Bottlenose Dolphin Capital of the World in 2017, Nelson Mandela Bay has the biggest pods of Bottlenose Dolphins, year-round whale watching, a penguin colony, as well as the Big Five within a short distance. If your family stays for 2 nights or more, you will each receive a complimentary pass giving you access to free and discounted experiences around the bay. You can use your discounts towards your Big Seven experience if you book in advance.
Depart on the early flight to Johannesburg and make it in time for lunch at Jembisa Bush Home in the Waterberg region of Northern Limpopo.
Your stay at this genuine bush home will be a delightful mix of adventure and comfort. Jembisa Bush Home has 5 bedrooms as well as social spaces styled with a contemporary take on Colonial interior design. This is a rich family experience that satisfies every age group. The little ones will leave as mini rangers, and all will become more aware of the need to protect nature so that it can be enjoyed for longer.
If there was ever an immersive History lesson, St Helena is it! This is a volcanic rock formation turned island in the middle of the Atlantic. The island’s recorded history goes back 500 years when the Spanish first claimed it. Its location in the middle of the Atlantic made it a natural resting place to break up the voyages from Europe to Africa and then Asia. The island was the home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte during his exile from France. He died on the island on May 5th, 1821. King Dingizulu of the Zulu, various Bahreini Princes and prisoners of the Boer War were also held on this island.
Enthusiastic photographers will love capturing the landscape of St Helena which is a surprising mix of red earth hills, jagged stone shores, black-sand beaches, and lush green hills dotted with sheep. Mantis St Helena is the only luxury hotel on the island.
This is the stuff that memories are made from. White sand beaches with warm water and azure views for miles out. Nungwi Dreams by Mantis is an apartment-style hotel that offers practical accommodation options for different types of families. With 1- and 2-bedroom suites that can inter-lead, a large rim-flow pool, and full beach frontal; Nungwi Dreams is an ideal family destination.
The hotel’s service is fantastic yet flexible so that guests can spend as much time as they want exploring the Spice Island. There is a turtle conservancy nearby and the hotel can arrange all kinds of Zanzibari experiences.
Did you know that the origin of the word curious is “careful”? How fitting!
If you dare to pursue knowledge, step with great tact. There shouldn’t be development without replenishment, no safari without sustainable conservation. We take care so that you can defy normality, and dive into the adventures that pique your interest.
Carbon-neutral walking safaris in Zambia: Lion Camp by Mantis
Imagine trekking on the same footing as wild animals and sensing time and space on their terms. A walking safari in the South Luangwa is the kind of adventure that should be on your bucket list. You know it should be on there, but how do you wrap your head around stepping in sync with the snores of dozing hippos? Can you begin to dream about sizing up your boot print alongside the trail of an elephant parade? Yes. You. Can.
You can choose to stay at Lion Camp by Mantis and enjoy walking safaris; guilt-free. The camp is a 100% green and self-sufficient with its own water purifying plant, its own power supply, and a fully efficient recycling system and fresh produce that is locally grown by a farmer whose seeds & fertilizer is sponsored by Lion Camp. In 2018 Lion Camp by Mantis became one of the first carbon neutral safari camps in South Luangwa through purchasing verified carbon offsets from Biocarbon Partners. Going carbon neutral is the latest step in Lion Camp’s efforts to further reduce its ecological footprint and ensure minimal impact on the environment.
Port Alfred, South Africa? You must be Curious!
We love Port Alfred, and so will you. It is the perfect place for a coastal holiday and has a historical grace that makes it homely. Perfectly set on the Sunshine Coast of South Africa where you can enjoy every kind of water sport under the sun. Close to all the seaside fun is Royal St Andrews Hotel and Spa; winner of the 2018 Lilizela Best of the Best Hotels in the Eastern Cape and one of South Africa’s Top 25 Hotels in Tripadvisor’s 2019 Travellers’ Choice awards. If that does not pique your interest; then let us introduce you to their Gracious Hospitality.
Sumptuous gourmet dining paired with luxury accommodation, deep sea fishing or a spot of beach horse riding. Should you be lucky enough to catch a fish, the Chef will prepare it for your dinner. Your food experience at Royal St Andrews is guaranteed to be top-notch. From the sophisticated dinners in Thistle Restaurant to long and lavish breakfasts in The Paper Nautilus. Your stay is not complete until you have some beautifully presented pub cuisine at The Highlander Pub; all the better with a Highlander Lager.
Still not convinced to leave your armchair? Let’s Seuss it up.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!
~ Oh, the Places you will go by Dr Theodor Seuss Geisel