Meet Mukupa Zulu, Ranger at Lion Camp

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.

“I started my working career as a teacher but eventually was drawn by the beauty of wildlife.  I started at  Tafika as a trainee guide in 2007.  Since then I have qualified as a walking guide and are passionate about the bush and sharing it with people.” – Mukupa Zulu

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.



Unite your brood

Iconic Cape Town

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, Simon’s Town

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.

Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town

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.

Image from:

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.

Image of Kirstenbosch Garden by Jean van der Meulen on Pixabay

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.

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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.

Jembisa Bush Home, 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.

Mini rangers at Jembisa Bush Home

Got a case of island fever?

Mantis St Helena, St. Helena 

Mantis St Helena, James Town

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.

Mantis St Helena – a landscape photographer’s muse

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.

St Helena

Nungwi Dreams by Mantis, Zanzibar

Nungwi Dreams by Mantis

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.

Fresh daily seafood is always on offer at Nungwi Dreams

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.

For more information on these and other exclusive family experience, please contact

Are you careful enough to be curious?

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

Lion Camp by Mantis, South Luangwa Zambia

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.

Honeymoon Tent at Lion Camp by Mantis

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.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Port Alfred, South Africa? You must be Curious!

Horseriding on Kelly’s Beach, Port Alfred

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.

The Honeymoon Suite in the Heritage Wing, Royal St Andrews Hotel & Spa

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.

Highlander Lager – every pint supports the Wilderness Foundation

Enjoy this lap of luxury, because your stay has a positive impact on the environment and the community of Port Alfred. Read more about Royal St. Andrew’s journey towards sustainable operations.

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

MANTIS: “Man and Nature Together Is Sustainable” ~Dr Ian Player

Exclusive Getaway: Island Hopping off East Africa

Imagine… immaculate beaches, clear sea waters and happy welcomes … all to yourself and your family or friends. If you’ve ever dreamed of an island-hopping holiday in the Indian Ocean, this will be hard to beat. 

Thanda Island, a private paradise in Tanzania’s Shungi Mbili Island Marine Reserve, is one of the world’s most exclusive destinations.

Circled by coral reefs and a marine reserve, the waters here teem with sea life – you can swim with gentle-giant whale sharks, and spy on turtles nesting. The villa offers a host of other activities too, such as floodlit tennis, table tennis, yoga, outstanding snorkelling, sailing, jet-skiing, kayaking, SUP-ing, water-skiing/wake-boarding and beach volleyball.
The luxurious, 5-bedroom, New England-style villa is built of sustainable materials and so that when dismantled, no trace will remain.

Looking after your every need are your own Executive Head Chef, Butlers, Hostess, Housekeepers, Cocktail Barman, Boatmen, Snorkelling Guide, Dive Instructor, Fishing Guide and Spa Therapist.


From here, it’s a lazy dhow ride to Nungwi Dreams by Mantis. This brand-new, 5 star boutique hotel lies at the northern tip of the highest rated and most pristine beach on the island of Zanzibar.

This secluded and luxurious hideaway has access to a private beach and all the convenience of every modern luxury. Contemporary architecture mingles with local Swahili and Arabic flair, giving you a complete experience on the Spice Island. Soak up the peace, or go exploring legendary Stonetown, Zanzibar’s unique island style will creep under your skin and into your heart.

Cooling off Nungwi Dreams









Head south now to another private beach house, this time on the Mozambican island of Benguerra.

Nestled in a secluded location away from the famous Azura resort, the Presidential Villa is the epitome of style and luxury, and just a few steps from the beach. There are 3 en-suite bedrooms, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, a media room, sitting/dining area with ‘wine bar’, huge infinity pool, and a fantastic treehouse to catch the afternoon breezes and panoramic views to Bazaruto Island.

Azura Benguerra, Mozambique

Discover more here:

Thanda Island
Nungwi Dreams
The Presidential Villa

The Envoy – an exceptional place to find yourself in Abuja

We are excited to announce that The Envoy in Abuja, Nigeria, is now open for business!

Nigeria’s renowned capital, where diplomats, businessmen and world leaders converge, is one of Africa’s foremost cities. Abuja is a city of distinction and discovery.

The Envoy sets a new precedent of urbane sophistication and unrivalled luxury for the distinguished traveller. With a modern facade, advanced technological facilities and eco-sensitive amenities, it is the perfect destination for business and leisure.

Read more on the Envoy’s website 

Touching Heaven in Cape Town

Perfect for families who seek togetherness in faraway places, Skydance is a villa that offers an elegant, relaxing retreat in beautiful Cape Town.

With views to the mountain and the ocean, Skydance Villa lies high above exclusive Bishopscourt and enjoys some of the best vistas offered in Cape Town. Here you truly get the sense that you are almost in the clouds.

Approximately 20 minutes from the centre of Cape Town, and close to the wine farms of Constantia, Skydance is less than 50m from Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

This exclusive-use, 6-bedroom villa with its exquisitely tended gardens (serviced by a borehole), enjoys exceptional views of the Table Mountain chain and False Bay. Various generous reception rooms, entertainment areas and a pool room make Skydance at once an indulgent yet informal villa. It is perfect for parents, kids and grandkids who love to travel together.

Some of the amenities include:
Swimming pool with safety pool cover
Pool room for entertainment
Off-street secure parking for up to 15 cars and Double Garage
Jungle gym for Children
Electronic safe
Select satellite TV in sitting room
Select satellite TV in bedroom
Tea and coffee-making facilities
Wood burning fireplaces
Wi-Fi throughout
State of the art security system

Founders’ Fascinating Flightless Dung Beetles

Flightless Addo Dung Beetles at Founders Reserve have been seen using dung balls to cool their feet! They rest their hot feet on top of the dung ball and take a breather. Put your own feet up and read about the tiny creatures we cannot do without…

Located in the birthplace of conservation in the Eastern Cape, the Founders Lodge Experience revolves around intimate interaction with the natural environment.

When Shamwari was established by the founder of Mantis, Adrian Gardiner, big game was re-introduced to the area. So too were all the ecological health workers in the chain of life. More than 20 years on, these little creatures remain the stars of the Founders Lodge nature walk – an experience that delves into the workings of everyday life on the reserve.

A critical creature in the rewilding of Shamwari in the 1990s were the Addo Flightless Dung Beetles. These environmentally friendly bugs help to aerate the soil and fertilize the ground. Their busy work made a huge contribution to Shamwari’s rehabilitation, from degraded farm land into the conservation success story it is today.

Coming in at between 22 and 47 mm in size, the Addo Flightless Dung Beetle punches way above its weight class as the Hercules of the animal kingdom. The beetle has vestigial wings that cannot support it in flight.

This particular species (Circellium bacchus) evolved to be dependant for nourishment and breeding on the dung of big game, such as rhino, elephant and buffalo. When populations of these animals in the Eastern Cape were killed off in the 1800s, the Addo Flightless Dung Beetle was left extremely vulnerable as it could not fly to new habitats.

It walks from dung pat to dung pat to feed and collect the dung it needs to build dung balls. Feeding might take place at the dung site, but younger adults usually prepare a small ball and roll it away to eat in a protected location. The Addo Flightless Dung Beetle prefers the coarse dung of elephant, rhino and buffalo but will feed on dung from a variety of species. Buffalo dung is preferred for breeding.

Female beetles produce one offspring per breeding cycle, sometimes two per year. Fecundity is therefore low. When breeding, the female removes a portion of dung from the pile, pats it into a ball and rolls it from 7 to 80 metres away, depending on when she finds a suitable site. A dung beetle can roll a ball 50 times its own weight! Unlike other dung beetles, the Flightless Dung Beetle male trails his mate by a few centimetres but does not help roll the ball. When the ideal site is decided on, the female excavates the hole and the male then positions himself on top of the dung ball and sinks down with it, the depth varying from 17 to 37 cm.

Mating then takes place and the egg is deposited. The male returns to the surface and the female remains with her brood throughout the early (larval) development. This is critical for the survival of the larva as she constantly clears away fungus that develops on the outside of the dung ball. The development time from egg to adult ranges from 120 to 140 days. The young adult then feeds for another 50 to 65 days before becoming sexually mature.

Previously, the species was widely distributed in the old Cape Province and extended north into the Transvaal. As elephants, rhinos and buffalos became regionally extinct, the beetles became restricted to the Addo National Park, where small herds of buffalo and elephant survived.

Addo dung beetles have been seen using the dung ball to cool their feet. They rest their hot feet on top of the dung ball and take a breather.

On your next visit to Founders, we would be delighted to take you on an in-depth exploration of our private 400-hectare reserve. Populated only with grazing animals, the Founders Reserve allows you to observe the inner workings of animal interaction with birds, plants and insects such as the Flightless Dung Beetle. An experience that will enrich your safari and give you a deeper understanding of the Big Five game you will encounter on the adjacent Shamwari Reserve.

Exciting things to do on St Helena

St Helena has attracted adventurers for years. The fishing is fantastic. The fauna and flora are fascinating. The views are spectacular, and it’s hard to believe that so many different eco systems can exist on one small island. Whether you’re a history buff, an avid diver, a hiker or you’re simply looking for a unique destination to explore, this remote island in the Atlantic Ocean offers a wealth of things to do.

Welcome to St Helena! Your comfort is assured – Mantis St Helena offers excellent accommodation in one of the island’s Georgian buildings with a newly built wing. Now you just need to decide what you’ll choose to do while you’re here!

Download the itineraries below for great ideas and activities that will make your stay the holiday of a lifetime. These are just a fraction of the possibilities on the island. For further ideas, read our blog about St Helena here, or visit St Helena Tourism.

Suggested General Itinerary


Itinerary for Hikers


Itinerary for Divers


Itinerary for History Buffs

all photographs courtesy of st helena tourism.

Join the Ultimate Conservation Voluntour 2018

See South Africa’s “Big 7. Leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues, knowing that you have made an important contribution to the protection of these species.

Worldwide Experience, founded by Mantis director Paul Gardiner, launched the Ultimate Conservation Voluntour in 2017. This 12-day boutique voluntour is an unforgettable opportunity to view the “Big 7”, to learn about the conservation threats that these and other species face, and to be a part of the efforts to conserve them and their habitats.

A dedicated guide will host your entire Voluntour, ensuring that you have a learning adventure filled with fun. And that you leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues, knowing that you have made an important contribution.

The Ultimate Conservation Voluntour is hosted at Mantis Collection or similar properties. Starting in Cape Town, you will follow the famous Garden Route of South Africa, staying in Mantis hotels or similar, and concluding the tour at the spectacular Founders Lodge by Mantis in the Eastern Cape. Along the way, you will gain exposure to selected conservation projects within our portfolio, giving you an incredibly diverse experience incorporating elements of:

  • Wildlife conservation
  • Marine conservation
  • Conservation management
  • Game reserve activities
  • Tree planting
  • Community projects
  • Environmental awareness
  • Exploring the beauty & cultures of South Africa
  • The chance to see the “Big 7” (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, whales, and great white shark)

For more information about accommodation and the itinerary, visit Worldwide Experience.

This voluntour is presented in association with our adventure travel partner, Freewalker Adventure Travel.

Airlink to operate additional flights this week


At short notice, Airlink will be operating, linked to another service, an additional special flight to St Helena departing Johannesburg this Wednesday, 24 January, and returning to Johannesburg on Thursday, 25 January 2018.

For those looking to travel urgently to or from St Helena, kindly contact Solomon & Company (St Helena) Plc’s Shipping & Travel Agency on St Helena, your travel agency or visit the Airlink website: to purchase seats.

The flight will arrive at St Helena at 1.15pm on Wednesday, 24 January, and depart at 8am on Thursday, 25 January 2018.

#StHelena #StHelenaAirport #AdditionalFlight

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22 January 2018