Book Your Safari


The Airtons

In the early 2000s, Dale and Shannon Airton met while working on conservation projects in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in Zululand. Dale later joined the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, and the couple became involved with Manyoni in 2004 when it became a site for black rhino reintroduction. Transitioning to hospitality, the Airton family invested in a property in Manyoni, including a safari lodge, aligning with their passion for conservation. In 2014, they seized the opportunity to purchase another property and built Rhino Sands, a camp reflecting their conservation values. Opened in October 2017, the camp aims to connect guests with the environment, and the Airtons have been managing it collaboratively ever since, driven by their commitment to hands-on conservation in Manyoni.

Shannon first moved to South Africa from the United States in 2002. With a degree in Conservation and Animal Behaviour she worked for various research projects in South Africa and now helps to run Rhino Sands. She splits her time between Manyoni and Ballito, where Wyatt is now enrolled in primary school.

Born in 2014, Wyatt is the youngest game ranger at Rhino Sands. When he is not busy at school in Ballito, he eagerly joins us on the reserve. He has a passion for praying mantises and chameleons, and generally enjoys participating in conservation and management activities on the reserve with his dad.

Dale knew he was destined to be a game ranger from a young age. As a child he developed a love for animals, wild spaces, and the game reserves of Zululand. He obtained a diploma in Conservation and began his career in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park in 1999 and has lived and worked in Zululand ever since. Dale serves as the general manager of Rhino River Lodge and Rhino Sands Safari Camp.

Our Team

Rhino Sands - About us - Rhino Sands Team

Our team is an extension of our family. As the camp is small, our team is small, allowing guests the opportunity to get to know the talented and exceptional people that work with us. These are the individuals that create the Rhino Sands experience and create a bridge between our family and yours. We invite you to get to know them all. 

Anton is our head ranger. His knowledge and intuitive understanding of the Zululand bush and animals is vast. He also has one of the best laughs in the business.

Chris is our lodge anchor/guest relations manager. Chris is always quick with a joke and a smile, has an energetic and dedicated approach to his job, and always provides our guests with impeccable customer service.

Esrom is one of our general assistants. You may not always see him but he’s part of the heart of our operations, ensuring everything is working efficiently and flowing smoothly. If you see someone running thru camp, it is Esrom, hard at work.

Gabi helps to keep the Airton family running smoothly, and she helps with housekeeping at Rhino Sands. She has been with the Airtons since Wyatt was born in 2014 and is a cherished part of our family. Her sweet nature and strong work ethic make her an asset to our team.

Jonno is one of our game rangers. From the moment you step on his vehicle his exuberant love for the bush and enthusiasm for guiding is evident.

Josh is one of our game rangers. Josh is a born naturalist with a passion for conservation and his drives highlight his love of all aspects of the bush.

Lauren is our Lodge Manager. Her enthusiasm and attention to detail help to support the whole team and ensure a five star experience for our guests. Lauren's positive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile make all the difference for our guests and team alike.

Nobuhle is one of our housekeepers. She has taken on the role of team mum and is always on top of things. She’s enthusiastic about creating an environment you feel comfortable and cared for in.

Nonhlahla is our Junior Sous Chef. She is always diligent and quietly sets about her work behind the scenes in the kitchen. She is a quick learner and we proudly watch as her talent grows every day.

Nqobile is one of our housekeepers. Her bubbling energy and warm gentle nature ensure the whole team makes it through the day with a happy positive attitude.

Ofentse is our head chef. With a wide range of experience, Ofentse has continued the Rhino Sands tradition of gourmet cuisine while bringing his own unique innovative style to the table. He leads the kitchen team with confidence and true passion. Don't miss his decadent desserts!

Patrick is one of our general assistants. His duties include night watchman, and his large reassuring presence helps guests sleep soundly through the night.

Philani is one of our general assistants. Philani oversees our camp maintenance and ensures everything in camp is in working order. His unassuming nature and gentle smile is beloved by team members and guests alike.

Sanele is our head housekeeper. Her gentle, warm presence ensures the team prepares the camp for our guests with extra care.

Bonnie is our kitchen assistant. She ensures the kitchen flows smoothly and proudly supports our chef team.

Spha is our assistant manager. He is always calm and collected. Spha’s customer service is unmatched, and his reassuring manner helps the guest experience to flow.

Thandeka is one of our butlers. She is a warm and welcoming presence in camp, and she works extremely hard to provide guests with five-star hospitality.

Thandi is one of our housekeepers. She always sets about her hard work with a smile that is infectious, and her positive attitude lifts up our whole team.

Zanele is our Senior Sous Chef. She is one of the most naturally gifted chefs we have come across in the industry. She may have a quiet demeanor, but her food speaks volumes.

Join our tribe

We would love to keep in touch.  From time to time during low season we also offer specials to our subscribers.

Your Safari

Safari Camp  |  Experience Reserve Activities

About Us

Our Family  |  Our Reserve  |  Our Purpose

Plan Your Trip

Logistics  |  Helpful Hints

Book Your Safari

Rates  |  Contact  |  Book Now