Book Your Safari

Rhino Sands


News & Stories


A decade of cheetah conservation in Manyoni

Over the past two months, our guests and rangers have been treated to excellent sightings of the latest spotted additions and their mother to the reserve. These little cubs are the result of years of dedicated cheetah conservation in Manyoni that we have been so fortunate to watch and contribute to with the help of our guests. The cheetah is currently classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, although there is a strong push amongst conservationist to increase the classification to endangered. There are only an estimated 1 000 individuals in South Africa, which is why cheetah conservation in Manyoni is important to securing the survival of this beautiful big cat. This litter of cheetah cubs and mom were spotted by Sun Chasing Travelers in October

A decade of cheetah conservation in Manyoni

Manyoni Private Game Reserve introduced a founder population of four cheetahs (two males and two females) in August 2009. Since then, the amazing team at Wildlife ACT has worked tirelessly to manage the cheetah population and introduce new animals for genetic variation as part of the endangered species reintroduction initiative. At the start of this year, a coalition of male cheetah arrived on Manyoni from a game reserve in Limpopo. They were successfully released into the holding boma, a common practice that allows the animals to acclimatize to their new environment before being released into the reserve. The area they came from is a newly fenced reserve and many of the cheetah there are former free roamers that have little to no experience with humans. The older adult male was three and a half years old and was been bonded with a 20-month-old sub-adult male.
Two cheetah enter the boma as part of cheetah conservation in Manyoni Private Game Reserve
The pair of male cheetahs introduced into the boma on Manyoni
Bonding male cheetah is done by introducing two unrelated males together in a holding boma with a dividing fence to prevent initial fighting. Over the course of a few weeks, they start to become accustomed to the other’s presence, the dividing fence is then removed and eventually the goal is to get them to feed on the same carcass as well as patrol the boma together. Bonding single male cheetahs gives them a greater chance at survival and success at spreading their genetics by mating with females.

The future of cheetah conservation on the reserve

The pair was was released from the boma into the reserve in April, and so the next generations of Manyoni cubs may have be fathered by one of these males. During the course of this year alone, we celebrated the birth of several litters of cubs on the reserve, and the population is now estimated to be well over 25 individuals. Through careful management and introduction of new animals for genetic variation, Manyoni is now in a position to contribute to the country’s meta-population by moving cheetah to new reserves.
One of the cheetah cubs spotted by Sun Chasing Travelers in October
We highly recommended that guests wanting to experience conservation hands-on book a wildlife monitoring session. You will have the opportunity to learn about the use of telemetry equipment and track down one of the collared animals on Manyoni. You will get to know the team as well as gain insight into animal behaviour and wildlife management. You can participate in either elephant, lion or cheetah tracking. An afternoon or morning session can be booked. When you stay with us at Rhino Sands, you are contributing to wildlife conservation and environmental management on Manyoni Private Game Reserve. Please contact us or enquire and book using our online form.


On Key

Related Posts

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.

Safari Chic: Unveiling the Art of Stylish Adventure with The Safari Gals

A practical and fashion-forward guide to curating your safari chic wardrobe. Embarking on an African safari is an adventure like no other, where the breathtaking landscapes and majestic wildlife create unforgettable memories. As experienced safari travellers, The Safari Gals are here to share top tips on safari style, helping you make confident decisions on what to wear while exploring the wonders of South Africa. We hope you enjoy this guide to creating a chic and ‘somewhat’ practical wardrobe for your safari adventure. Safari Neutrals: Colours & Fabrics When it comes to safari, think neutral earthy tones like khaki, olive, and sandy hues. These colours seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings and offer a timeless and classic safari look. Opt for breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton to stay comfortable in the African heat while exuding effortless elegance.  Have a look at Taeve Africa (we are huge fans!). Their collection offers a range of garments designed specifically for the safari experience, ensuring you can explore with comfort and grace. Remember, luxury safari travel often presents opportunities for stunning photographs, so let your style shine and create Instagram-worthy moments. Bold Prints: Embrace Contrast & Drama  While neutrals might make up the bulk of your safari chic wardrobe, don’t be afraid of making bold statements. Go out of your way to embrace prints that contrast with the safari environment and wear vibrant patterns that create dramatic and beautiful images from your holiday. While on a safari vehicle animals take very little notice of colour and pattern (however, this is not the case if you are going on a walking safari). Focus on choosing breathable fabrics and practical cuts that allow freedom of movement. Express your individuality and wear whatever makes you feel happy and confident. Safari-Inspired Animal Prints Animal prints have long been associated with safari-inspired fashion. While mixing multiple animal prints can be overwhelming, incorporating a pop of animal print into your outfit adds a touch of timeless chic. A leopard print scarf or a zebra print accessory can effortlessly elevate your safari style without overpowering the natural beauty of the surroundings. Embrace Practicality & Romance Let’s face it – this might just be the most romantic experience you will ever have – so dress for it! Embrace the inherent romance of a safari holiday with a flowing cotton dress. As before, always opt for breathable fabrics, consider the fit for ease of movement, and ensure it can withstand the adventures of the day. A well-chosen cotton dress allows you to immerse yourself in the safari experience while looking effortlessly elegant. When it comes to making a statement on your safari, explore the exquisite designs of Harlow & Summer offering romantic summer dresses with beautiful prints that evoke a sense of whimsy and elegance. Or take a look at Swing Cape Town. Their magnificent dresses, skirts and tops are unashamedly romantic, very beautiful and come in a range of neutral colours. Diving into Serene Waters Many safari destinations boast picturesque pool locations and offer year-round swimming opportunities. Pack your favourite swimsuit to take a refreshing dip in these serene waters, or just lounge poolside with a fabulous cocktail. Whether it’s a secluded lodge pool or a private plunge pool, enjoy the blissful moments of relaxation surrounded by nature’s wonders.  The Safari Gals recommend the gorgeous swimwear from Gabrielle Swimwear and Granadilla Swim, two South African brands that blend style and functionality, allowing you to make a splash while feeling confident and chic. Headgear: Sun & Wind Protection Protect yourself from the elements with stylish headgear. Hats and scarves are essentials on game drives, where the sun and wind can be intense. Opt for wide-brimmed hats to shield your face and neck from the sun’s rays and select lightweight scarves to add a touch of elegance while keeping your hair in place.  Complete your safari look with silk scarves and jewellery from Asatsi. Their exquisite silk scarves not only add a touch of glamour but also serve as fashionable head coverings, protecting you from the sun and adding a chic element to your ensemble. Accessories: Complete Your Safari Look Elevate your safari style with carefully chosen accessories. Don a pair of chic sunglasses to protect your eyes while adding a touch of glamour. Consider copper jewellery, which not only complements earthy tones but also reflects the rich cultural heritage of Southern Africa.  Discover the unique jewellery pieces crafted by Down 2 the Wire. They transform animal snares, once used by poachers as objects of torture and death, into stunning pieces of jewellery. By supporting their cause, you can wear a beautiful accessory while contributing to conservation efforts. Footwear: Every Girl’s Best Friend Let your footwear strike a balance between practicality and fashion, whether it’s veldskoens, boots, sandals, or flip-flops. Pointed heels are generally to be avoided on safari as even in camp there is often a lot of natural terrain like sand, rocks, and natural pathways. Remember, comfort is key during your safari adventure.  Veldskoen are known for their iconic South African shoes. They offer a range of traditional and durable options that are perfect for safari adventures. Also take a look at their locally made flip-flops – plakkies, which we absolutely love. For exquisite handmade boots, look no further than ROF-Style handcrafted in Cape Town, their designs are a true testament to South African craftsmanship, adding a touch of luxury to your safari attire. Dress for Dinner: Celebrate Special Occasions While many safari-goers opt for casual attire throughout their stay, there’s something magical about dressing up for a special dinner. Celebrate these unforgettable moments and milestones by donning elegant attire, whether it’s a romantic evening with a loved one or a celebratory gathering with friends. Kingsley Heath offers a range of items suitable for safari travel, including sophisticated dresses, tailored separates, and elegant accessories. Their collection allows you to celebrate special moments in style, adding an extra touch of glamour to your safari experience. Weather Considerations: Always Be Prepared  Before embarking on your safari, research the average temperatures and rainfall during your

The Power of Local Community Support for Manyoni

Game reserves, like Manyoni, are not just patches of wilderness dedicated to wildlife conservation; they are vital ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity preservation and environmental education of those that come from far to visit them and those that are right at their doorstep. While the efforts of dedicated conservationists and organizations play a significant role, the importance of community involvement in game reserves cannot be overstated. Recognising this, Manyoni led by the Zululand Conservation Trust engages with and supports neighbouring communities through various initiatives. This ensures the best outcomes for all – people, wildlife and the environment. Zululand Conservation Trust The mission of the Zululand Conservation Trust is a commitment to the conservation of endangered species whilst maintaining and supporting partnerships with neighbouring communities. The Trust recognises the fundamental need to involve, empower, educate and support local communities, in order to achieve effective and lasting conservation. Like much of rural South Africa, Zululand has high rates of poverty and unemployment, which are further exacerbated by low levels of basic education. The ZCT aims to bridge the major education, skill and poverty gap between these outlying communities and the rest of the province through a series of projects aimed at poverty relief, holistic education and learner support, basic household necessities resourcing, and food security. Below we have highlighted a few of the many community upliftment projects the ZCT supports. Projects for positive impact Creche support: ZCT currently provides ongoing support to three crèches, two of which the Trust built, in neighbouring communities. Each crèche receives support in the form of monthly food supplies, donations and general maintenance of the facilities. These facilities provide a safe space for local children to play, learn and enjoy a warm, nutritious daily meal. Food security: The Mandlakazi Food Security Project is a donor-funded project that provides schools with a 10m x 15m food garden. Hardy vegetables such as spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, peppers are planted in each garden. This is to improve diets and provide the necessary nutrients needed by young growing children. Matric learner support: ZCT assists the principal of Mandlakazi High School with the running costs of her annual Matric Camp, which provides Grade 12 learners a safe and quiet space to study together, receive extra lessons, and enjoy three meals a day. Looking ahead At the same time, ZCT endeavours to grow within local people the same understanding and love for conservation that their team has. Long-term, ZCT hopes to have their communities more likely to support initiatives aimed at safeguarding wilderness areas, becoming the guardians of their natural heritage, ensuring that the reserves remain safe havens for wildlife. And, for the tourism associated with these reserves to create direct job and small business opportunities and greater economic growth for the region. Each guest’s nightly conservation levy goes directly to supporting the Zululand Conservation Trust, including its many community projects.

The pangolins of Manyoni: A conservation success story

We can say with certainty that seeing one of the pangolins of Manyoni Private Game Reserve will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life. In just three years, the adult Temminck’s ground pangolins of Manyoni now total 14 and, to the absolute joy and pride of all, four pango-pups were born on the reserve last year. It is a huge triumph for pangolin conservation in Zululand, where the species has been locally extinct for almost 70 years. Accounting for about 20% of the entire illegal wildlife trade, pangolins are now the most trafficked mammals in the world. They are highly sought after for their meat and scales, which are made of keratin – the same material as your finger and toe nails. Rehabilitating and rewilding the pangolins of Manyoni The team at Manyoni work closely with the Zululand Conservation Trust, African Pangolin Working Group and the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital to establish a viable population of pangolins in the reserve. With the help of the South African Police Service (SAPS), the pangolins are confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade, arriving at the veterinary hospital in poor health due to the stress, dehydration and malnutrition suffered while with poachers. Once they have made a full recovery under the intensive care and nursing by the dedicated vet team, the pangolins begin a ‘soft-release program’ in Manyoni and other designated reserves. Each day, their dedicated ‘pangolin shepherd’ takes them out into a part of the reserve most suitable for them to explore and encounter ant and termite mounds. If necessary, their shepherd will show them how to break into the mounds, where they will then use their long (up to 70cm), sticky tongues to slurp up the juicy ants. During this first phase, the pangolins are monitored intensively to ensure they acclimatize, are able to find suitable food and gain enough weight before they are released fully. The soft release also provides an important and unique opportunity for research as little is known about these intriguing creatures. It takes two months on average for pangolins to be ready for the ‘hard release’ when they will go into the reserve equipped with a tracking device to allow the team to monitor and protect them. The pangolin walking experience This ground-breaking conservation program is resulting in a thriving – and growing – population of pangolins in Manyoni. It is providing a second chance for previously poached pangolins and contributing to the survival of the species. The pangolin program is financed solely from donor funding through the Zululand Conservation Trust. The tags, telemetry equipment, veterinary costs, vehicles and fuel, and salaries for the pangolin monitoring team are all vital but extremely costly. You can help give rescued Temminck’s ground pangolins another chance at a happy life by booking a pangolin walking experience. This is an amazing opportunity to see a pangolin first-hand as you walk with a pangolin and its shepherd during a monitoring session. Please note that this activity costs R1000 and is subject to availability. If you would like to add the pangolin walking experience to your stay with us, we suggest booking it in advance to make sure you don’t miss out. Enquire further with our Reservations Team when booking your Rhino Sands safari or book directly with the Zululand Conservation Trust here.

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