Situated within the 23,000ha Manyoni Private Game Reserve, and under new ownership and completely refurbished to luxurious standards,
Zebra Hills Safari Lodge is a perfect break-away for the discerning wildlife and bush-lover.
Available on a self-catering basis for rental at reasonable rates, the 7 room Main Lodge or 3 room Homestead (which also has 3 attached family rooms) can either be rented separately or together. Every room is air-conditioned with its own bathroom facilities. Our kitchens are a chef’s delight or make use of our excellent cook who can prepare delicious meals. Our boma is the perfect venue for sundowners and a braai, and both the boma and our expansive deck overlook a busy floodlit waterhole that often teems with game including Lion, Buffalo and Rhino.
Zebra Hills boasts two brand new safari vehicles and our rate includes two daily game drives with an experienced game guide on this superb Big 5 game reserve. The lodge is child-friendly and children of all ages are welcome. Facilities include a net-covered swimming pool and a jungle gym and sandpit.
Zebra Hills Safari Lodge is available for hire on the following basis: Either
the 7 bedroom Main Lodge or 3 bedroom Homestead (which also has 3
attached family rooms) can be hired as separate units or together; Each
unit has its own modern kitchen and deck. The lodge swimming pool, main
deck overlooking the waterhole, boma and jungle gym are shared between
by residents of both units; Every bedroom has its own private bathroom
and shower and/or bath as well as air-conditioning;
The Main Lodge and the Homestead each come with their own open safari vehicle and two game drive sessions per day driven and guided by an experienced game guide are included in the package (a maximum capacity of 10 persons per vehicle is allowed); The services of an assistant, cook and cleaners are included; Cost R1,450 per person per night, children 3-12 R725, under 3 free;
Minimum charge Main Lodge R7,500 per night Sun-Thu nights (excluding public and school holidays) and R12,500 per night Fri & Sat night, public and school holiday nights. Homestead R5,000 per night Sun-Thu nights (excluding public and school holidays) and R10,000 per night Fri & Sat night, public and school holiday nights. The ZRR conservation levy is additional to the above and is currently R120 per adult and R60 for children under 12. The rates are subject to change annually.
Download Birding List
Home to an impressive variety of big game including the much talked about ‘Big 5’, time in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve is sure to be thrilling and memorable. Landscapes in the reserve range from rolling hills of open Acacia savannah, lush riverbeds lined with giant Sycamore figs and bright Fever tree forests, dense thickets favoured by the elusive Black Rhinoceros, towering cliffs and scattered waterholes often thronged with thirsty animals. Regularly encountered mammals include the ubiquitous Impala and Common Warthog, splendid Nyala, Greater Kudu (males with impressive spiralled horns), Common Waterbuck, both Southern and Mountain Reedbuck, the diminutive Natal Red Duiker and its more nocturnal cousin the Grey Duiker, Steenbok which favour the driest zones and Common Bushbuck which stick to the denser vegetation around the riverbeds, herds of ungainly Blue Wildebeest and Burchell’s Zebra which usually travel together, dispersed herds of enormous Giraffe and noisy troops of Chacma Baboon and Vervet Monkeys.
A few of the larger waterholes support family groups of raucous Hippopotamus and two other sought-after target species are the elegant Cheetah which occur in healthy numbers and a pack of endangered African Wild Dogs that call this reserve home. The “Big 5” is always high on every visitor’s want list and the Manyoni Private Game Reserve is particularly proud of the conservation work that it does in protecting good numbers of both Black and White Rhinoceros despite the current scourge of illegal poaching. Family groups of White Rhinos are regularly encountered but the shyer and less numerous Black Rhino are more difficult to find. Herds of African or Cape Buffalo can number in their hundreds and both lone bulls and matriarchal herds of African Elephant roam the reserve.
Lions occur in good numbers, especially around this southern section of the reserve and are regularly encountered around Zebra Hills lodge itself where our guests are often awakened at dawn by the reverberating roar of Lions. Finally the Leopard, which is the most elusive of the Big 5, occurs in healthy numbers but finding this stealthy spotted cat always requires a hefty dose of good luck.
Zebra Hills activities include night drives and besides the mammals mentioned above, we stand chances of finding a variety of nocturnal specialists such as Spotted Hyena, Cape Porcupine, Black-backed Jackal, White-tailed Mongoose, Large Spotted Genet, Scrub Hare and Greater Galago (Thick-tailed Bushbaby). If we are very lucky we might come across the bizarre Aardvark, Caracal, Serval, Bushpig or Brown Hyena.
The reserve bird list boasts over 400 species. Topping the list are the classic sand forest specialities that include the highly localized
trio of Pink-throated Twinspot, Neergaard’s Sunbird and Rudd’s Apalis, eye-catching Gorgeous Bushshrike, Eastern Nicator and Eastern Bearded
Scrub-Robin. Early morning drives often turn up Crested and Natal Francolins scuttling off the roads as well as flocks of the bizarre Crested Guineafowl.
We recommend spending quality time along the reserve’s riverine woodlands searching for numerous frugivorous species that flock here to feed on the abundance of fruiting figs. These include cryptic African Green Pigeons, the brilliant Purple-crested Turaco, White-eared and Black-collared Barbet and their smaller cousin the Red-fronted Tinkerbird, noisy Trumpeter and Crowned Hornbills, Black-headed and the migrant Eurasian Golden Oriole, and busy flocks of Black-bellied and Violet-backed Starlings. Other species that also prefer these moister forests include Scaly-throated and Lesser Honeyguide, Burchell’s Coucal, the sought-after Narina Trogon, raucous Broad-billed Roller (summer only), Brown-hooded, Woodland and the gorgeous African Pygmy Kingfisher and the most southern breeding population of Grey-headed Kingfisher, cackling family groups of Green Woodhoopoe, the enormous Southern Ground-Hornbill, Black-backed Puffback, Southern Boubou, Square-tailed Drongo, Blue-mantled and African Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow-bellied and Sombre Greenbul, Terrestrial Brownbul, Black Sawwing Swallow, Red-faced Cisticola, Yellow-breasted Apalis, White-browed and Red-capped Robin-chats (both accomplished songsters), Collared, Grey and Purple-banded Sunbird and both Spectacled and Forest Weaver.
Waterbirds include pairs of Egyptian Goose that dominate most waterholes, the unique Hamerkop, Woolly-necked Stork, the secretive Striated Heron and more conspicuous Grey Heron, migrant Common and Wood Sandpipers, Three-banded Plover, African Wattled Lapwing, family groups of Water Thickknee and Black Crake. Thirsty Red-eyed, Ring-necked, Laughing and Emerald-spotted Wood Dove are regular waterhole visitors and noisy Village, Lesser Masked and Southern Masked Weavers nest in vegetation hanging over the waterholes. The reserve’s more open grasslands are home to a healthy population of the world’s largest bird, the Common Ostrich, as well as a good number of Black-bellied Bustard. Other species that occur this habitat include Common Buttonquail, Crowned and Senegal Lapwing, Temminck’s Courser, Shelley’s Francolin, Black Coucal (in longer, moister grasslands), Little and European Bee-eater, Rufous-naped and Flappet Lark, Barn, Lesser Striped and Red-breasted Swallow, Croaking Cisticola, Neddicky, Red-billed Quelea which sometimes flock and breed in the reserve in the millions, White-winged Widowbird, Yellow-throated Longclaw and African Pipit.
The Acacia savannahs or bushveld habitat have their own subset of species which prefer this slightly drier habitat and these include Grey Go-away-bird, Red-faced and Speckled Mousebird, the multi-coloured Lilac-breasted Roller, African Hoopoe, Common Scimitarbill, Southern Yellow-billed and Red-billed Hornbill, Acacia Pied and Crested Barbets, Greater Honeyguide, Brown-backed Honeybird, Striped Kingfisher, Golden-tailed, Cardinal and Bearded Woodpecker, Chinspot Batis, flocks of White-crested Helmetshrike, Grey-headed and Orange-breasted Bushshrike, Brown-crowned and Black-crowned Tchagra, Brubru, Black Cuckooshrike, migrant Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrike, the miniscule Grey Penduline Tit, Sabota and the rare Dusky Lark, Long-billed Crombec, migrant Icterine and Willow Warbler, ubiquitous Rattling Cisticola, the scarce Stierling’s Wren-warbler, Yellow-bellied and Burnt-necked Eremomela, noisy flocks of Arrow-marked Babbler, abundant Cape Glossy Starling, Red-billed Oxpecker which frequent the larger mammalian fauna, Groundscraper and the near-endemic Kurrichane Thrush, the handsome White-throated Robin-chat (another near-endemic), White-browed Scrub-Robin, Pale and Grey Tit Flycatcher, Scarlet-chested and White-bellied Sunbird, Yellow-throated Petronia, the little known Bushveld Pipit, Yellow-fronted Canary and last but not least, Golden-breasted Bunting.
Raptors are prevalent in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve and its well worth keeping a look out for a variety of eagles including the massive Martial (Africa’s largest)
and powerful Crowned Eagle (Africa’s monkey-eating version of Harpy which nest in good numbers in the reserve and are virtually guaranteed to be encountered),
as well as breeding pairs of migrant Wahlberg’s, Tawny, the scarcer African Hawk-Eagle and non-breeding migrants which include Lesser Spotted, Booted and more
rarely Steppe Eagle. Brown Snake Eagle is the most commonly encountered snake eagle but Black-breasted also occurs and the aberrant Bateleur, one of Africa’s
classiest raptors, is regularly seen rocking over the savannas on its broad wings. Small numbers of Secretarybird stride across the more open grasslands in
search of snakes and other prey and other regularly encountered raptors include Black-shouldered and Yellow-billed Kite, African Harrier-Hawk, Lizard Buzzard,
Gabar and African Goshawk, Black and Little Sparrowhawk, migrant Common (Steppe) Buzzard and Lanner Falcon. Vultures are also prevalent and play an important
role in cleaning up the reserve. African White-backed is the default species but smaller numbers of massive Lappet-faced, White-headed, Hooded and rarely Palmnut occur.
During the southern summer, numerous cuckoo species are vocal through the reserve so keep an eye and ear out for Great Spotted, Levaillant’s, Jacobin, Red-chested, Black, African, Klaas’s, Diederik and the stunning African Emerald. Colourful seedeaters are also a feature of the area including Green-winged Pytilia, Red-billed, African and Jameson’s Firefinch, Blue, Common and Grey Waxbill, African Quail Finch and the incredible Pink-throated Twinspot. Village, Purple and Dusky Indigobirds and Pin-tailed and Acacia Paradise Whydahs attain their breeding plumage late in the summer and are nest parasites on the after-mentioned seedeaters. Nocturnal excursions may reveal the uncommon Bronze-winged Courser, Spotted Eagle, Barn, African Wood, African Scops, Southern White-faced and Verreaux’s Eagle Owls and Fiery-necked and Square-tailed Nightjars.
The Manyoni Private Game Reserve was established in 2004 and comprises of 17 landowners who have dropped their internal fences to create a big 5, endangered species reserve. The WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project was the conduit for the formation of the reserve.
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