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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in South Africa

Connection and community at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge

You may have been on safari before, but I promise Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge offers a unique kind of positive energy…

By Dries Lloyd
General Manager at Rhino Ridge Lodge

We were the first private lodge in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, on Mpembeni land whose community are part shareholders of the lodge. It’s this unique relationship that the owners Paige and Brett Gehren forged from the very beginning which makes this place so special. Ninety-seven percent of our staff are local. They’re amazing, humble, honestly the best people – in the morning we gather for meetings and prayers. This is our family away from home.

I couldn’t think of a better place to work perched above the treetops overlooking undulating hills, river and waterholes. The lodge is slick yet seamlessly fits into the scenery with light-wood panels, local craftwork and a palette that mimics the savannah. It’s the perfect place to decompress after game drives. The infinity pool seems to topple off into the savannah and the spa overlooking the waterhole, I’ve heard, soothes any tension you may have developed bumping along the African hills. Even the campfire feels more sophisticated than most. Meanwhile 18 open-plan rooms enjoy spectacular views, some with deep-sinking bathtubs and fireplaces. The two honeymoon villas are spectacular, each with a plunge pool on the private deck.

After safaris you’re treated to hearty dishes; venison, oxtail and local-style grilled chicken with pap (maize), chips and ethically sourced ingredients such as stone-ground flour and desert salt. Plus, we have this special bottle of wine that whenever one is purchased, a percentage goes to the anti-poaching unit. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge may be stylish, but it doesn’t compromise on sustainability demonstrated by our solar fields – soon we’ll be completely self-sufficient – our spring water filtering system used by the community, and of course recycling to the point of obsession. We have a microgreen garden and I’m planning to introduce hydroponics. It’s a big job but Paige and Brett support the ethos. At Rhino Ridge there are no limits to the vision.

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Alfred & Dries Lloyd

Having spent his childhood in the Western Cape, Dries enrolled at a renowned chef school before spending time in Switzerland. Returning to South Africa, he trained at Relais Chateaux accredited Ellerman House followed by various five-star properties as General Manager. Since then, he started a tour company in the Cape Winelands, and bought four restaurants where he worked for over 14 years. It was the call of the bush though in the end that drew him to Rhino Ridge Lodge and his Isibindi family.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Laura, who's travelled extensively in South Africa. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - ex banker who can show you the hottest foodie spots in Cape Town, the award-winning young sommelier who can introduce you to Stellenbosch's finest wines and the walking safari ranger who can guide you to the best game.

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