Lodge Activities

Mavela Game Lodge focuses on displaying the diverse beauty of the Zululand bush. Game drives are in the early morning and late afternoon into the evening, in search of personal encounters with a range of abundant bird species and wildlife. While back at the lodge, guests can laze in the sun by the pool on a hot summer day, or take to the shade of their private patio to enjoy a good book found at the lodge library. The upstairs viewing deck has stunning views of the rolling hills of Zululand and is an excellent spot to just sit, relax, and watch the wildlife come to drink from the lodge waterhole. The upstairs bar is available for self-service throughout the day and is the ideal place to meet other travelers and share your stories from your adventures.

Mavela Lodge is unfenced, and as a result, you will find yourself surrounded by wildlife as you go about your day. Impala will nervously make their way down to the waterhole, while birds will be taking a dip in the birdbath in front of your luxury tent. You may even hear the lions calling at night from the comfort of your bed.

In the evening the main focus will be on the boma or outdoor fireplace where stories are shared, friends are made and the night sky puts on a show with its dazzling array of stars. After a long stare into the fire, a 3-course dinner will be served. Prepared by our own chef, using fresh local ingredients and paired with carefully selected South African wines.

Game Drives

Explore the Manyoni Private Game Reserve in a customized open top 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser, led by a knowledgeable guide. The guide will take you on a search for the reserves renowned wildlife, while pointing out the subtleties of the ecosystem around you. Be prepared to get up close with the larger animals as the guide takes you off-road to get the best possible view. Game drives depart early morning and late afternoon, when the animals are most active. This gives you the best chance of seeing an incredible wildlife spectacle – you may even be lucky enough to see a hunt!

The morning departure is usually half an hour before sunrise. with a tea/coffee break affording guests the opportunity to stretch legs and absorb the beauty of the natural surroundings. The evening game drive departs mid- to late afternoon. The field guide customises each route, depending on what was seen previously and according to the group’s specific interest. The stop at dusk offers guests traditional, South African “sundowners” and a variety of typical South African snacks. It is a special moment to pause and listen to the night sounds with the African sun setting over the pristine bushveld, after which it is time to search for the more elusive, nocturnal creatures of the reserve.

Walking Safaris

Experience Africa on foot with specialized walking safaris conducted by our highly trained trails guide. Each walk can last up to 3 hours and departs early morning to give guests the best opportunity to encounter the larger wildlife of the Manyoni Game Reserve. Walking also offers a wonderful opportunity to get closer to nature by stepping off the game viewer and slowing down your search of wildlife – take in the beauty of the smaller creatures and learn about the medicinal and cultural beliefs of the floral kingdom. Maybe even track down one of the ‘Big 5’ by following the footprints left in the sand. A walking safari will replace a vehicle based safari as both take place in the early morning. We recommend sacrificing at least one drive to experience this wonderful activity. Your guide will customize the route depending on your interests and fitness level. Take a stroll through the bush while stopping at anything that catches your eye, or get your exercise for the day by marching along the crests and valleys of the rolling hills .

Photographic Safaris

As part of the Photographic package you will be given full use of a private game drive vehicle and a knowledgeable photographic guide to help with any questions you may have. The beauty of having your private vehicle is that you can spend as much time as you like out in the bush or at a sighting of your choice. If your goal is to photograph lions, then we will focus solely on finding the animals and spending time at the sighting - so you can get that perfect photograph .

The reserve is a paradise of open grassy plains and rolling hills. This is perfect as a backdrop to photograph any animal species. Photographing the Big 5 is any nature lovers dream. Search for your species of choice and then spend time enjoying their beauty. Basic equipment is available for rent, but we suggest renting your own equipment. For any suggestions or advice get in touch with us.

Birding Safaris

Some come to experience the Big 5, and leave with an everlasting appreciation of the magnificent birdlife. Mavela is renowned for its exceptional birding opportunities, with over 400 species recorded on the reserve. The diversity of habitats found on the Manyoni reserve invite you to go searching for all sorts of beautiful and elusive bird species. From riverine thickets to grassy plains, the bush provides an abundance of birdlife. The Stevens family are avid birdwatchers and ensure that guests are given a glimpse into this fascinating hobby. The guides at Mavela are bird specialists, and will be able to identify many of the birds by their call alone. They love a challenge, and if you wish to come searching for a specific bird, we will search high and low to get the sighting you wish.

Rhino Dehorning

Join our wildlife management team on a unique rhino dehorning experience. Rhino dehorning has proven to be an effective measure to deter rhino poaching. We therefore invite you to join us and participate in a heart-warming, hands-on experience. Get up close to wild rhino whilst assisting the team in collecting DNA samples and taking measurements, all of this contributing to the protection of the species. The procedure is not harmful in any way and our veterinarian and wildlife management team is highly experienced ensuring the welfare of the rhino during the procedure.