Words: Robyn Elford
One of South Africa’s best-kept getaway secrets is HillsNek Safari Camp, situated in a secluded corner of the magnificent, Amakhala Game Reserve, close to Addo Elephant National Park, just 70km outside Port Elizabeth in the malaria-free Eastern Cape of South Africa. Just four exclusive, luxurious tented suites set on the banks of the Bushman’s River offer a breathtaking panoramic vista of rolling African plains, home to abundant wildlife including the white rhino.
Courtesy of: Robyn Elford
FACT: Just 4,800 African Black rhino are left and are classified as critically endangered, while the 20,000 remaining African White rhino are classified as near-threatened. Even so, poaching levels have reached crisis point with 2,700 rhinos slaughtered between 2000 and 2013, and another 1215 reported rhino poaching in 2014.
Among these thousands of slaughtered rhinos were two of Amakhala’s white rhino bulls. It was this sad event in 2010 that prompted HillsNek Safari’s owners to step up their conservation efforts to protect and promote the population growth of the southern white rhino in Africa. Determined to protect and conserve this species more than ever, the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF) was established by HillsNek Safari owners, as a separate, privately-run non-profit organization, aimed at conserving rhino and supporting the stringent anti-poaching efforts needed. As an NGO run by volunteers, the Foundation provides tangible equipment, intelligence, technology, education and relocation assistance to rhino custodians.
HillsNek Safaris uses its unique hospitality offering to contribute substantially to the extensive work done by the Foundation across Southern Africa. HillsNek staff volunteer their time and energy to assist the Foundation in its work, while HillsNek rangers raise awareness by discussing the plight of our rhinos and the work of the Foundation with all guests. In addition, the owners volunteer their time on a full-time basis to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation.
If you are looking for the ideal getaway, consider an unprecedented safari experience for the love of rhinos!
For more information, about HillsNek Safari Camp go to www.hillsneksafaris.com and for more insight into the conservation efforts of the Chipembere Rhino Foundation (CRF), visit www.chipembere.org.
Unearthing the exceptional
Mantis is a family run collection of award winning, privately owned, five star properties located around the World, across all seven continents. Its specialist areas include Boutique Hotels, Game Reserves, Eco Lodges, Ski Lodges and Chalets and Boutique Cruises, offering in-the-know travellers the most exceptional properties and authentic experiences imaginable. Each of the diverse, handpicked properties represents the finest example of its kind and celebrates the culture, gastronomy, architecture and nature of the locations in which they are found. Whilst every property is unique, being part of the collection ensures that the quality of the facilities, service and overall experience is consistently 5 star and guests can always expect personal, friendly service.
Officially founded by entrepreneur and hotelier Adrian Gardiner in 2000, Mantis is committed to the spirit of conservation and restoration, and each property is sensitive to its surroundings in respect of the building, environment and local community. The entrepreneurial spirit of the family underpins that of the group allowing them to be dynamic in the growth of the portfolio, responding quickly to consumer demand. In 2013, Mantis has launched Mantis eXtreme which offers an online collection of authentic, once-in-a-lifetime encounters and experiences worldwide, often paired with product from their field of expertise - five star, handpicked properties. Experiences include: Wilderness camps in the great Niassa at Lugenda Wilderness Camp, Mozambique; Bear Grylls Survival Academy, U.K., USA, Africa; Parabolic flights with Space Affairs, Europe; Rhino Encounters with Dr. Will Fowlds, South Africa; Midnight Golf, Bjorkliden, Sweden and Great Bear Tours, Canada.
Mantis and Mantis eXtreme offer member properties the ideal sales, marketing and management solution for their boutique business to ensure successful growth and drive long term brand development. The company also offers consultancy services in other disciplines including conservation, education and hotel development.