Book Your Safari

Beneath the African Skies

Beneath the African Skies: A night time safari experience at Rhino Sands As the game drive departs the lodge in the late afternoon, the wildlife viewing commences. It’s a seamless transition from the human-made to the natural world, where every turn and trail brings discovery. The evening game drive is unlike any other, offering a unique opportunity to witness the nocturnal wildlife come to life under the vast, starlit skies.     As the drive progresses, a special moment awaits—sundowners in the wilderness. This cherished safari tradition involves stopping in a picturesque location to enjoy drinks and snacks as you watch the sun cascade in a breathtaking display of colours across the sky. The immense beauty of the sunset, with silhouettes of some of the animals visible in the distance, provides a perfect backdrop for reflection and admiration of the day’s end in the African bush. The air cools, and the sounds of the day give way to the more mysterious noises of the night, adding an element of excitement and unpredictability to your safari experience.  A day in the reserve As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, casting a golden glow across the African bush, your adventure at Rhino Sands truly begins. Your guide, with their in-depth knowledge of the area and its inhabitants, navigates the rugged terrain with ease. Their expertise not only ensures a safe journey through the wilderness but also enriches the experience with fascinating insights about the behaviours and habitats of the nocturnal animals you encounter. Equipped with spotlights, the vehicle illuminates the darkness, revealing the glowing eyes of creatures hidden in the shadows. It’s a thrilling experience to spot a herd of elephants on the move or even the rare sight of a lion pride on the move under the cover of darkness.    As the drive continues, you’re enveloped in the beauty and tranquillity of the African night. The guide occasionally stops, allowing you to listen to the symphony of sounds – from the distant roar of a lion to the soft chirping of crickets and the rustle of leaves as animals move stealthily through the bush. These moments of stillness are profound, reminding you of your place in the natural world and the privilege of witnessing these wild spaces as they have existed for millennia.     Upon returning to Rhino Sands, the magic of the safari doesn’t end. You’re welcomed back to the camp with warm, ambient lighting leading you to a beautifully set table under the stars. The dinner you pre-selected awaits, each course a culinary delight that complements the day’s experiences. Dining outdoors, surrounded by the night sounds and under the African sky, is the perfect way to reflect on the day’s adventures and the beauty of the wilderness that surrounds you.    After dinner, the evening can be spent relaxing by the fire pit, sharing stories of the day’s sightings with fellow guests, or simply gazing up at the stars, contemplating the vastness of the universe and the timeless beauty of the African bush. The luxurious, yet eco-friendly accommodations at Rhino Sands ensure a comfortable sleep, with the sounds of the wild serving as a natural lullaby.    A nighttime safari at Rhino Sands is more than just a game drive; it’s an immersive experience that connects you deeply with nature. It’s about feeling the heartbeat of the African wilderness, understanding the importance of conservation, and leaving with a renewed sense of wonder for the natural world. As dawn breaks and a new day begins, you’re left with unforgettable memories of the night’s mysteries and the enduring beauty of Africa. 

The allure of KwaZulu-Natal: How to have a South African holiday in one province

When daydreaming about an all-encompassing South African holiday, there is one province that offers it all – KwaZulu-Natal. Don’t believe us? We promise we will have you convinced by the end of this post. KwaZulu-Natal is the epitome of a diverse and balanced vacation experience, blending the allure of pristine beaches with the thrill of wild bush adventures. Nestled along the gloriously warm Indian Ocean on South Africa’s south-eastern coastline, it offers a fusion of culture, natural beauty, captivating wildlife encounters, and an effortless combination of beach and bush experiences. The best of all worlds KwaZulu-Natal presents a remarkable contrast of landscapes, featuring both a sprawling coastline and expansive bushveld. This combination allows travelers to savour two different natural worlds within the a single holiday package. Picture yourself lazing on the golden sands found at beaches all along the north coast one day, and venturing into the heart of the Zululand wilderness the next, ready to witness Africa’s iconic Big Five on a game drive. A big drawcard is KwaZulu-Natal’s subtropical climate ensures that your beach and bush adventure can unfold throughout the year. With over 600 kilometers of coastline, KwaZulu-Natal boasts an array of breathtaking beaches catering to relaxation and adventure enthusiasts alike. Those north of Durban, like Thompson’s Bay near the popular beach town of Ballito, offer a laidback atmosphere for surfing, swimming and sunbathing while still close enough to the main city attractions. This oasis of serenity complements the exhilarating bush experiences that lie just three hours away. The heart of Zululand is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Here you will find wild beauty in Big 5 game reserves like Manyoni, that offer exclusive access to some of Africa’s most iconic animal and bird life. Imagine embarking on a guided safari, tracking lions and elephants against the backdrop of lush bushveld and the Drakensburg mountain range. At 23,000 hectares reserve, Manyoni Private Game Reserve is one of the largest privately-owned reserves in Kwazulu-Natal and is committed to protecting environmental biodiversity and endangered species like cheetah and rhino (black and white). A culmination of cultures and culinary delights The cultural fusion in KwaZulu-Natal offers an enriching and truly South African experience. Immerse yourself in Zulu heritage while visiting rural communities, learning about local traditions and sampling hearty home-made cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy freshly caught seafood while overlooking the shimmering Indian Ocean. And of course, indulge in the vibrant Indian influences found in delectable curries that speak to centuries of history. The province’s rich history and diverse cultural tapestry enhance the depth of your combined beach and bush journey. Ultimately, KwaZulu-Natal stands as a testament to the remarkable beauty of uniting several worlds, crafting an extraordinary South African holiday with the highlight of a beach and safari combination, each place being just a few hours drive away. Have we convinced you of the magic of KwaZulu-Natal? We have a fantastic Beach and Safari combination package special with Sala Beach House. Please contact our Reservations Team for more information.

When is the best time to visit South Africa on safari?

We are fortunate to live in a country that is a true year-round holiday destination, which means any time is the best time to visit South Africa on safari. In KwaZulu-Natal, every season has its charms. The long, hot days of summer are great for basking by the pool and the seasonal rainfall transforms the bush into a lush, green playground for wildlife. Winters are dry with early mornings and evenings spent cosy around the campfire, and there are regular opportunities for excellent animal sighting during game drives. There isn’t any one time of the year that is better than another for a safari. It depends on what kind of wilderness experience you dream of having. If it’s your first safari, you might want to have the classic wildlife safari experience  commonly associated with the winter months. Whereas an old-hand safari-goer or avid birder, might like the promise of migratory bird sightings that summer brings. Each season offers a different experience from the one that came before it. This is what makes the bush such a captivating place throughout the year! Visiting South Africa on safari in summer Months: October/November to March/April Temperature range: October & November ~ minimum of 16°C (61°F) and maximum of 26°C (79°F); December to February ~ min 19°C (66°F) and max 29°C (84°F); March & April ~ min 17°C (63°F) and max 27°C (81°F). Rainfall: January tops the wettest month with an average 130mm (5.1in) of rainfall; although rainfall patterns have become quite inconsistent in recent years. Known as the green or wet season, a summer safari in Manyoni Private Game Reserve  Manyoni Private Game Reserve brings its own special delights. This is the time when the bush turns into something of a maternity ward. Zebra, impala, giraffe and other game animals give birth to adorable newborns that are up and wobbling about on their gangly legs within half an hour of dropping. This incredible feat is crucial for their survival. If they can’t stand and gallop away, they are completely at the mercy of predators. As Manyoni is the isiZulu word for ‘Place of the Birds’, the reserve is renowned for its abundance of birds throughout the year. Summer does bring an extra colour and flair though, as European and African migrant species fly in to enjoy the warmer temperatures. Visitors to the reserve can include various bee-eaters, Eurasian golden oriole, common and wood sandpipers, icterine and willow warbler, and the red-backed and lesser grey shrike. For photographers, a summer safari in South Africa offers beautiful natural lighting at dawn and dusk, the times that our game drives are scheduled. Following the usual afternoon thundershowers, the air is washed crisp and clear by the rain, things cool down, and a rainbow is a common sight against the blue sky. The cloud-stacked sunrises and sunsets are sublime. Along with these opportunities for gorgeous landscape photography, there is plenty of animal and birding action to capture. Extended holiday idea: Pair this with fine beach weather along the KwaZulu-Natal coastline and you have the makings of the ultimate bush and beach holiday in South Africa. Visiting South Africa on safari in winter Months: May/June to August/September Temperature range: May ~ minimum of 13°C (55°F) and maximum of 24°C (75°F); June to August ~ min 11°C (52°F) and max 23°C (73°F); September ~ min 14°C (57°F) and max 25°C (77°F) Rainfall: June is the driest month with an average rainfall of 38mm (1.5in); although rainfall patterns have become quite inconsistent in recent years. Come winter and the bush shakes off its layers of thick greenery, giving way to bare trees and shades of brown. Without the rain to wash them away, dust particles hang in the air in the late afternoon and create intense colours across the sky at sunset. This then usually gives way to a cloudless night sky, perfect for stargazing back at camp. Read more: Find out all there is know and love about a South African safari in winter. We are true believers that the best time to visit South Africa on safari is whenever you can! Contact us or enquire and book using our easy to use online form.

Summer special: Beach and bush safari holiday in KZN

rhino sands rates- elephant

A beach and bush safari holiday in KwaZulu-Natal is the classic combination getaway in South Africa. That’s why we are treating you to a summer special that gives you the best of both worlds for less and just a three-hour drive between them. We have partnered with our friends at Sala Beach House, a gorgeous new seaside escape in Thompson’s Bay, a three-hour drive south-east of Manyoni Private Game Reserve. Book a minimum of two nights at Sala and two nights with us at Rhino Sands, and enjoy a 10% discount on each property’s all-inclusive rates. This special is valid for travel from now until 28 February 2023; block out dates apply from 16 December 2022 to 8 January 2023. South Africans enjoy a double special as our resident rates still apply. (If you already know this is the holiday for you, then you can skip the details below and head over to complete our online enquiry form. Or contact Reservations on or +27 (0) 87 004 4027.) Why we love Sala for a beach and bush safari holiday in KZN Sala Beach House welcomes guests to experience barefoot beachside luxury away from the crowds and noise of the city. The main house perches on the seafront, and features four guest rooms and three suites that each sleep two guests and a private beach villa for a group of six. Here are just some of the reasons to fall in love with Sala like we have: Relax in several elegant spaces, like the dining room, outdoor terrace, and two swimming pools. Watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean and often spot pods of dolphins gracefully moving through the water. Head down via private access to to a protected tidal pool, swimming beach and secluded coves. Indulge in exquisite dining, sundowner canapés around the firepit and a cocktail of the day. Treat yourself to a healing message and therapeutic treatment at the on-site wellness spa. Enjoy other activities in the area as well, including deep sea fishing, golf, surfing and micro-lighting. What to expect on your luxury safari with us As a boutique hotel on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, Sala is the perfect complement to a bespoke tented safari experience with Rhino Sands. If you haven’t visited Rhino Sands yet, here are some of best parts that you can expect during your safari with us: Connect with nature from a private tented suite raised above a riverbed and surrounded by lush forest. Enjoy amazing Big 5 and wildlife sightings in Manyoni, one of Zululand’s premier game reserves. Experience the bush on guided morning and afternoon game drives, that include morning coffee stops and sundowners with a spectacular view. Dine beneath the stars around the boma fire on culinary delights that match each guest’s preferences. Stay in an eco-friendly safari camp that operates off-grid and with minimal disruption to the surrounding environment. Become part of the Rhino Sands family, as our camp staff and guides make you feel at home, always. For those flying into Durban for your beach and bush safari holiday in KZN, Sala is a 20-minute drive from King Shaka International Airport. If you decide to visit Rhino Sands first, your drive from the airport will be about three-hours. If you are driving from Johannesburg, Manyoni is about six hours away and Sala is about nine hours away. When you are ready to enquire or book your perfect summer getaway with Rhino Sands and Sala Beach House, you can complete our online form or contact Reservations on or +27 (0) 87 004 4027.

What we love about a South African safari in winter

A South African safari taken between May and July is a comfortable and enjoyable one, as long as you come prepared. Because these are the dry months of the year, the bush shakes off its greenery, making the reserve look quite different to the wet summer season. Without the rain to wash them away, dust particles hang in the air in the late afternoon and create intense colours across the sky at sunset. This then usually gives way to a cloudless night sky, perfect for stargazing back at camp. We don’t believe that any one time of the year is better than another for a safari, as each season offers a different experience from the one that came before it. For now, since the cooler months are here, we are sharing some of the reasons we love winter safaris: Game sightings can get extra wild The colder months of the year are also the driest, which is ideal for spotting wildlife. The scarce rainfall means the bush thins out so animals are easier to track and spot. The cooler temperatures also mean they can stay in the open longer into the day and congregate around the few water sources available. But taking a drink from a waterhole or river puts animals in an incredibly vulnerable position and leaves them open to attack. Crocodiles lurk in the water below and big cats wait in the surrounding bushes for the perfect moment to strike. Indulgent food enjoyed in snug places One of our favourite parts of every safari is the food. There is something though about winter that gives us all a good excuse to indulge. Chef Dion and his talented team in the kitchen will make you warm from the inside out with hearty stews, rich soups and homemade bread, and warm, seasonal desserts. After dinner, you’ll fall asleep in your tent with a full, happy stomach, and wake up with all the energy you need for your dawn game drive. These comforting meals are paired with the perfect cosy setting, like dinner around the boma campfire or breakfast from the warmth and privacy of your tent. Cosy up beside the campfire  The first cup of coffee for the day tastes so much sweeter while getting cosy next to the crackling campfire. It’s what gives you all the warmth and energy to head out into the bush on your dawn game drive to find those sightings that make the early wake-up so worth it! Then, it’s rusks and coffee with a splash of Amarula when you stop in the bush, perhaps after watching young lions hunt a warthog or elephants drinking from a watering hole. The afternoon game drive ends watching a spectacular winter sunset with a spread of savoury treats and a glass of something delicious – you can’t go wrong with a glass of red wine in winter. Comfortable weather with warm days and cool nights It’s all about layers when you’re in the bush during winter. Early mornings and late afternoons can be chilly, so we recommend packing winter jackets, gloves, scarves and a beanie, which you can gradually peel off or cover up with during game drives. To make sure you are completely warm and comfortable, we provide you with blankets and hot water bottles on our vehicles. Bring fleece pajamas and warm slippers to stay cosy in your tent, and electric blankets on your bed will keep you snug throughout the night. Once the sun comes up, the bush becomes bathed in lovely warm sunshine, perfect for landscape and wildlife photography. By midday it warms up nicely and is the perfect time to relax with a good book on the sun lounger by your private pool. Our team of camp staff and rangers are looking forward to showing you the best of the reserve, no matter what time of the year you decide to make your South African safari. Please contact us or enquire and book using our easy to use online form.

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