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.

The Founders Experience: A soul-reviving safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape

The biggest draw card are our Big Five game drives under the wide open skies of the Eastern Cape. But what makes a safari at Founders so special is that we are people of this place who love to share our insights into the conservation, culture and cuisine of our heartland…

The intimacy of Founders Lodge enables us to curate an exceptional experience for each guest staying in our 6 suites.

Authentic South African cuisine is made with love by our chef Louise, who creates delicious dishes with freshly harvested produce from our garden. We serve her wholesome soul food in different locations around the lodge so that every meal is a memorable experience with a different vista from your last repast.

You will be so taken with her creations that you may like to join one of Louise’s cooking and baking lessons in our traditional farmhouse kitchen. Unlike many great chefs, Louise is happy to share her culinary secrets.

The 400-hectare Founders Reserve is set in a rare biome that exists only in this part of the Eastern Cape. Our guides grew up here and are extremely knowledgeable about this endangered topography, home to flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. There are no predators on Founders Reserve, which facilitates insightful interaction and astonishing experiences within the environment that we are working so hard to conserve.

Founders Lodge was designed to give guests a sense of place and belonging. Whether you are in reclusive or social mood, the Lodge bends to fit you. All the communal spaces and guest rooms lead onto the peaceful indigenous courtyard garden, while each suite has a private verandah with never-ending views over the bushveld and out to the open African skies.

Founders offers the perfect balance between individual privacy and homely comfort, and our new managers, Mike and Leoni, can’t wait to make you welcome.

To find out more, please visit the Founders Lodge website.

Eastern Cape Meander

Malaria-free African luxury on the beach and plains with jaw-dropping wildlife experiences. Rosie Brossy discovers the Eastern Cape Meander.

Since I joined Mantis, I have had wonderful opportunities to explore some of the hotels in our portfolio. At every destination I have experienced the “sense of family” that Adrian Gardiner, Founder of Mantis, imparts to the hotels in the group.

I have recently returned from an Eastern Cape Meander, where I had the opportunity to explore the delights of the area. It may not be as famous for safaris as the Sabi Sands region of South Africa, but it is rich with game reserves – it also offers nearby beach destinations and is malaria free. What struck me most was the uncrowded game viewing and absolutely beautiful scenery. The roads are good, which made my self-drive meander effortless.

 

My first stop was Founders Lodge, near Grahamstown, 79 km (an hour’s scenic drive) from Port Elizabeth Airport and was once Adrian Gardiner’s personal holiday home.  It is an intimate lodge with six suites overlooking the surrounding plains adjacent to Shamwari Game Reserve.

On arrival, we were warmly met by the friendly staff who prepared a tasty harvest lunch before we set off for a much needed walk amongst the animals (no predators) in the private 400 hectare Founders reserve. Our instructions from game ranger and assistant manager Phillip Gouza included “talk softly”, “stay close” and to obey him at all times on the walk. It was an amazing experience.

 

The reserve has such varied scenery from grasslands to mountains and hills. Phillip has a passion for animals and nature and he freely shared his knowledge as rhino gazed at us while he identified the flora and fauna. Before we knew it, our 5km walk was over and our vehicle was waiting to collect us. Later, on a game drive we enjoyed wonderful sightings of a cheetah, more rhinos, elephant and buck then we watched the sun go down from a quiet scenic spot in the reserve with much needed G & Ts.

It’s a beautiful 118km drive from Founders to Port Alfred, where we stopped at The Highlander Pub at the Mantis’ Royal St Andrews hotel.

Royal St Andrews in the heart of this small town, is a scenic property that seamlessly blends 12 historic rooms dating back to 1920 with a modern 50-roomed wing, beautiful restaurants and spa. It’s a unique find in the heart of the Sunshine Coast and ideal place to base oneself to explore the 101 things to do in and around Port Alfred– golf, boat cruising, fishing, historical site-seeing, enjoying the long stretches of beach and visiting the first Mohair factory in South Africa.

 

My last stop on my Eastern Cape Meander was a night at the beautiful Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve. As its name suggests, this haven 10km outside Port Alfred, is a game park with sea frontage. Here the emphasis is on African luxury and from the moment you arrive you are pampered. The private suites, each with a “his and her” bathroom, have the most beautiful views of the reserve and the endless ocean that lulls you to sleep in the evening.

We enjoyed a game ride in the afternoon and saw shy nyala buck, which are not often spotted on game drives. There are no predators on this reserve so the game that wander here are very relaxed. It is the perfect place to unwind. At Oceana every meal is an occasion of fine dining, whether it’s the relaxed lunch served at the beach or a sumptuous dinner (you can choose to have supper in the privacy of your suite, on the deck overlooking the ocean or in the dining room).

Nothing is too much trouble at this property and as soon as you leave, you will start planning your return. It is an exceptional place to find yourself!

Please have a look at the special offers we have on stays at many of these wonderful properties!

I do hope that we will be able to strengthen our ties over the year ahead and if I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Rosie Brossy
Group Sales Manager
Mantis Collection