Manyoni Private Game Reserve, One of the Jewels of the Elephant Coast

June 24, 2021

Nestled in the foothills of the Lebombo Mountain Range, covering an area of 23000ha the Manyoni Private Game Reserve forms one of the largest privately-owned Big 5 areas in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is here, in the northern heart of the reserve that Mavela Game Lodge is situated. 

A unique landscape 

Manyoni is a special place, ask anyone. Its landscape is a visual feast with an extensive variety of habitats. Ranging from rolling grasslands dispersed between rocky hills to open savannah thornveld and dense riverine forests. Its habit entrenches the status of Manyoni Private Game Reserve as a Biodiversity Stewardship Reserve. This title is a national acknowledgement of the importance of this Reserve as a custodian of our shared heritage. As a conservator of indigenous fauna and flora which, as a larger system, works to provide significant ecological services to its habitat.

Home to more than 70 different mammal species and 420 bird species, the mission of Manyoni Private Game Reserve is to preserve and protect all life within the reserve through effective habitat, wildlife, reserve and law enforcement management. A strong focus on endangered animals and lesser-known species make the role of reserve management even more vital in Manyoni Private Game Reserve.

A birder paradise 

One of the most pertinent attractions of the Manyoni Game Reserve, aside from the beauty of the Budlaweni cliff face and freshwater springs gurgling into the Manyoni River, is the reserve's astonishing birdlife. Habitat variety and the health of the ecosystems on Manyoni Private Game Reserve combine to provide the ideal environment for avian Biodiversity. At 420 bird species and counting the reserve attracts much interest from the birding community. With our guides regularly achieving daily counts of over 100 bird species, Mavela Game lodge takes particular pride in attaining new "lifers” for our birding guests and spreading enthusiasm to newcomers who are developing their birding interest.

World-class wildlife conservation

As well as host to the big five, (Rhino, black and white, leopard, elephant, buffalo and lion) it’s also a conservation oasis for endangered species. Cheetah, Wild dog, Black Rhino and Pangolin populations have attained special status as their populations have been protected in the reserve allowing them to flourish Needless to say extra care and effort is given to ensure these endangered species continue to flourish on Manyoni Private Game Reserve. The reserve has also positioned itself as a vital part of the greater Kwa-Zulu Natal lion meta-population which is essential to maintaining the genetic well-being of the species in Southern Africa. Alongside these flagship species, the reserves conservation efforts allow guests on Manyoni the opportunity to view elusive species such as Aardvark, Caracal, Serval, Brown Hyena and Leopard during their visits.

Rhino Orphanage 

Illustrating the reserves commitment to the conservation of endangered species, Manyoni Private Game Reserve is home to the only Rhino Orphanage in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Funded entirely through donations and revenue generated by conservation levy’s the orphanage is home to black and white rhino calves which are raised and rewilded, contributing to the range expansion and population stability of both species. Our guests are encouraged to pay a visit to the orphanage to contribute to joining the fight to save our rhino and gain further understanding of the challenges facing rhino conservation in South Africa.

When you visit Manyoni Game Reserve, you’ll come to know that as well as Mavela being perfectly positioned in the heart of one of the brightest conservation prospects in South Africa, it’s also a place we’ll do anything to preserve and continue to call home. Here's to 15 years of successful conservation at Manyoni, as we look forward to 15 plus more. 

Plan on visiting Manyoni Game Reserve? Why not stay at Mavela Game Lodge and experience this incredible reserve on foot, on a walking safari? Contact us to book.

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