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Extraordinary November 2020 Newsletter

By November 12, 2020Press and Media

Dear Travel Partners

We welcome a change of season – and the very generous rainfall over so many of our driest areas in Kruger and the Waterberg. The bush is incredibly green and wildlife abounds.

We look forward to the return of our international guests now that the world is able to travel to South Africa, but remain extremely grateful for the incredible support of the South African Travellers. We are fully committed to keep looking after our own country men and women in the future!

Let us work towards making the next season a great one!

Yours in travel,


While we have experienced some amazing sightings during the lockdown on Mabula Private Game Reserve, this has to be one of the most spectacular sightings we have ever seen. Finding a brown hyena or an aardvark is a rare sight on its own, but to see a brown hyena try to HUNT an aardvark is once in a blue moon! This has become one of our most-watched clip on Mabula Game Lodge’s YouTube channel with 10 865 views. Latest Sightings which was kind enough to share this video has received nearly 2 million views


We are excited to welcome and introduce our new Resident Manager Kevin Jeffery to the Safari Plains family.

With more than 26 years of senior management experience within the hospitality industry, Kevin is a welcome addition to our Safari Plains family!

“I have been managing 5 Star lodges throughout Africa for the past 26 years including Sanctuary Retreats, Wilderness Safaris and Belmond Safaris. My diverse work place experience in many different locations and environments has been a highlight with exposure to many diverse cultures and people.

With a senior management background in education, training and development I look forward to bringing my expertise and experiences to Safari Plains”.


Beverly Killian joins Safari Plains as the new Assistant Resident Manager. Beverly brings with her nearly 20 years in the hospitality and travel industry with experiences that range from 5-star hotels and lodges as well as time spent working with various airlines and 12 years experience as an executive chef.

“I look forward to working towards building a strong, passionate & communicative team, and hope to fit right in with the rest of the team. The staff at Safari Plains are really passionate and wonderful people and I look forward to building this spectacular lodge together.”


Ivan Killian is no stranger to the industry with more than 20 years in various fields in the trade and has worked in some of South Africa’s top parks, including, Natal Parks Board, Kruger National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve as well as a number of Private Game Reserves in the Lowveld and the Kalahari.

A keen birder, he has travelled to numerous continents, as well as embarked on oceanic excursions in search of specific bird species. His experience includes wildlife videographer in the Limpopo Lowveld, participating in a wildlife production that was aired in 27 different countries.

After spending 3 wonderful years in the Limpopo Lowveld, researching large carnivores, mostly focusing on Leopard – Studies and Research, he went on to Co-author various scientific papers within the Animal Sciences field of study. Centred on wildlife reproduction and genetics, focusing on African Buffalo, Rhinoceros and African lion.

Ivan is joined by his wife, Beverley Killian, who has taken up the positing of Assistant Resident Manager at neighbouring Safari Plains. They have two children aged 16 and 14 both attending Wagpos Agricultural School in nearby Brits.


The African Albida Tourism Team invites you to join them for a virtual networking event to discuss topics relevant to their amazing destination.

There are two dates available to join the virtual event, Friday 13 November and Friday 27 November 2020.

Join guest speaker Tich Tandi, Wild Horizons’ Sales and Marketing Manager this Friday 13 November at 15h00 CAT.

To register, click here

Register for Friday 27 November here


There’s a time for everyone, if they only learn, that the twisting kaleidoscope moves us all in turn. There’s a rhyme and reason to the wild outdoors, when the heart of this star-crossed voyager, beats in time with yours…..” – “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, The Lion King

Recently, Mabula Game Lodge was honoured to be the chosen destination for the proposal of Andre Pretorius and Lizelle Fouche, who have graciously allowed us to share their special day. Our guide, Tiaan Muller, was able to beautifully capture the special moment that will surely preserve the everlasting memories of the special day.

Cradled by the spectacular Waterberg Mountains and situated within more than 120 square kilometres of pristine, malaria-free “Big Six” wilderness, the Mabula Game Lodge was purposefully designed to make every experience unforgettable.

On your special day, our vow to you is the promise to elevate the unforgettable celebration of the union of your lives by creating a day like no other. We are proud to offer no less than five sublime venues that will be the impeccable manifestation of the wedding of your dreams.  Whether you sense the strong calling to be at one with nature at our outdoor venues or would prefer the comforting warmth of our indoor settings, we assure you that it will be a lavishly stylish and elegant affair.

Andre fittingly decided to pop the question under the impressive fig tree fondly known as Shaya Moya where Mabula Game Lodge hosts breakfasts and bush events. The golden hour light as the sunset behind the Waterberg mountains created that intangible distinctiveness that the African bush provides!


Summer has certainly arrived at Victoria Falls! The elephants love frolicking in the river to cool down, and we’d be lying if we said we weren’t jealous. However, we don’t mind just watching them. We could watch these gentle giants all day!


We are extremely excited about the unforgettable wildlife sightings that we have seen in and around our Kruger lodges: Hamiltons Tented Camp, Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge and Imbali Safari Lodge and could not help but share some of these incredible scenes with you!


In 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated the Waterberg area of South Africa as a recognised Biosphere Reserve. Welgevonden Private Game Reserve, our home, is located in the heart of this Biosphere. Read more about the significance of this area in South Africa’s heritage in our special heritage day blog below.

The UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve is a 6,500 square kilometre (650,000 hectare) paradise named after the water-rich nature that the low mountain ranges and escarpments produce in an otherwise arid region. As one of three major mountain ranges in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, the Waterberg Mountain Range also contributes to a major water catchment area of the Limpopo Basin.

The unique nature of the mountainous region, coupled with the water-rich soil, produces an abundance of flora and fauna that are endemic to this region. According to UNESCO, the Waterberg’s rich biodiversity is evident with the presence of more than 5,500 species of plants, of which 43% are endemic to South Africa.

The region is also home to at least 18 threatened plant species, 18 mammal species 11 bird species, 4 reptile species, 4 species of fish, and one butterfly species that are all deemed of the utmost importance for biodiversity conservation.

From a socioeconomic perspective, the region is equally rich and unique. The Waterberg has been inhabited over hundreds and thousands of years and is home to one of the most important San rock art areas in South Africa. Today, more than 80,000 people live in the Biosphere Reserve.

The ideology of a Biosphere Reserve is to preserve both the socioeconomic and environmental distinctiveness of the Waterberg region, helping to strike a balance between the pressures of economic development, the need to generate direct benefits to the local communities, and the conservation of the area’s natural resources. As tourism is the primary source of income in the region, the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve Committee—an organisation set up after a five year consultation process with all stakeholders concerned—is tasked with ensuring that the needs of all stakeholders are dealt with in an equitable manner.

Clifftop Exclusive Safari Hideaway is privileged to contribute to the innovative conservation of the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere through Welgevonden Private Game Reserve’s pioneering conservation model. Through industry-leading, innovative conservation management, Welgevonden itself is home to more than 65 mammal species, including the famous Big Five, cheetah, brown hyena, caracal, aardwolf, and over 300 different bird species.

Located just two and a half hours away on road, or a mere 45-minute by flight, from Johannesburg, the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere’s accessibility and malaria-free status make it one of the finest places to watch wildlife, soak in the wilderness, and experience a hidden gem of South African heritage. As South Africans around the country are waiting with abated breath for the next opportunity to travel, we encourage everyone to explore the hidden treasures of our exceptional country.

At Clifftop, we believe that successful ecotourism must generate sustainable outcomes for the environment, for the surrounding communities, and for our commercial viability at every stage of our guest experience. We reaffirm our commitment to creating an exceptional experience that will generate sustainable benefits for the local community, for tourism, and for the conservation of our country’s inimitable heritage.


Since reopening, we have received some amazing feedback from our guests which have been too good not to share!

“We have been coming to Mabula since the mid-’80s (8 chalets!!) and followed the regular improvements of the property. The latest improvement is by far the best done so far, we could see it in the restaurant, buffet set up and the rooms. Maybe a little more training to the people behind the buffet who could not always answer basic food knowledge questions. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK”

“The experience was excellent. The rooms are amazing – it was a return visit & the changes they’ve made at the lodge are extraordinary. All the staff are exceptional & you know they’re greeting you with a smile behind those masks. Our safari & conference was just as exceptional & we were really spoiled rotten whilst there. The food too was quite delicious & there was never a moment that you were left to go hungry. Keep up the good work guys!”

We highly recommend Mabula Lodge for such an exceptional experience we had as a group of 6 friends. The staff was courteous, friendly and welcome with attention to detail. The room was very neat, clean and beautiful with breath-taking views of the bush. The game ranger Dianne was very informative and took us to the Lion enclosure which gave us even better experience of seeing 4 lions sleeping right next to the road. Our overall experience was just exceptional and great, will definitely recommend to friends and family.

Special staff mention to:

  • Nandi Ngcwabe
  • Rouxnet van Jaarsveld
  • Sophie and Lizzy
  • Stanley
  • Sara