We’re mounting bumpy terrain at the Shamwari Game Reserve
During our drive we see springbok, ducks, elephants, zebra, impala, giraffe, zebra, kudu and a whole bunch of other animals.
This reserve is also home to the Big Five, most of which prove elusive during our drive – this is due to the windy conditions, Nel explains.
At nightfall, we return to Founders Lodge, where we will spend our first night. Mantis Owners Collection, a portfolio of hand-picked a group that provides the use of properties featuring exclusive homes, villas and boats across the world, and is giving us a tour of some of its properties in the Eastern Capein its portfolio.
Each home in this collection of 32 has a unique story. Founders Lodge was previously the private home of Adrian Gardiner, the founder and chairman of the Mantis Collection, and was only recently added to the collection.
The inspiration behind the Mantis Owners Collection was to make use rarely occupied luxury homes around the world, many of them owned by Gardiner and his friends, as exclusive accommodation for holiday rental.
Mantis stands for “Man and nature together is sustainable”, and this speaks sums up the ideology behind the group, which is also involved in boutique hotels, eco lodges, ski lodges, chalets and boutique cruises. Impressively, it is the only hotel group with a presence on all seven continents.
Founders Lodge has a gym, steam room, library, boma, two outdoor swimming pools and, most important, complimentary wi-fi, so we can speedily share our gorgeous pictures on social media.
There are six roomy, African-themed private suites here.
In a secluded area just outside Port Alfred, a winding road leads to the Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve.
When we step into our suite, a breathtaking view of the beach unfolds before us.
Our suite has three large bedrooms, each with its own verandah, with a magnificent view of the reserve and the beach below.
It’s a 7 km stretch of uninterrupted beach and from our private Ocean House, there’s no way of missing the beautiful view.
Oceana is an ideally intimate and personal space for special occasions, and between 12 and 15 specially curated weddings a year are held here.
It's off to the Hopewell Private Game Reserve.
Situated about 70km outside Port Elizabeth, with sweeping hills and valleys and beautiful viewpoints for little picnics and sundowners. Some have a full view of the Indian Ocean.
Hopewell is big on conservation and is breeding endangered species like the cheetah, to improve the genetic pool.
During our game drive, we see more action than on our previous drives, including a giraffe running awkwardly across the reserve and an imposing parade of elephants.
With more than 265 known bird species, Hopewell is an ideal place for bird enthusiasts to visit.
As Gardiner tells of his journey and vision, I relive a moment on Shamwari Game Reserve during our first game drive.
An impala stands alone, 30 or so metres from the herd. Ignoring conventional wisdom and opening itself up to the threat of potential predators that may be lurking in the bush nearby, we watch as this young rebel saunters further away, separating itself from the herd.
In many ways, that’s the spirit this owners’ collection embodies: breaking free of the crowd.
For more information, see www.mantisownerscollection.com
* Shingai Darangwa and partner were hosted by Mantis Owners Collection.
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