Having just welcomed a herd of elephants, Babanango Game Reserve in the heart of Zululand, northern KZN, is now proud to call itself a Big Five reserve! While its incredible animals and natural space are what attract visitors to this KZN game reserve, the incredible staff are the heartbeat that make it all happen.
One such example is the enchanting Mandisa Nzimande, a Zululand-born woman with a passion for the natural world. She has several years of experience in the hospitality industry, working in 5-star lodges, and joining the Babanango Game Reserve in the role of Senior Receptionist before quickly climbing the ladder to her position as Assistant Lodge Manager at Zulu Rock Lodge.
Mandisa’s natural charm and infectious energy have seen her welcome many guests, both domestic and international, to this exclusive lodge which features six luxurious free-standing, villa-style suites and one family villa – ideal for a private safari getaway.
We asked Mandisa to share some of her insights into why Babanango Game Reserve is a top Big Five destination for visitors!
Q: What is your favourite aspect of Babanango Game Reserve?
Mandisa: “I think my favourite aspect about this Zululand game reserve is the environmental model we follow as a company, and the fact that this game reserve is rich with historical sites throughout. This makes it a really unique tourism attraction and I truly believe we will become the top reserve to visit in KZN.”
Q: What is your favourite animal at Babanango Game Reserve and why?
Mandisa: “Of all the animals and species we have on the reserve, I believe the leopard is my favourite. It’s the humble walk and the way it looks – it is so amazing! The leopard has the most beautiful spots. I could honestly watch it all day.”
Q: What is your favourite quote about nature?
Mandisa: “My favourite quote is by Albert Einstein which goes: ‘Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better’.”
Babanango Game Reserve is an iconic Zululand game reserve with a rich heritage which plays an important role in the area’s conservation efforts. In the past five years, the reserve has embarked on one of the largest game translocation projects in the country. This has involved selectively sourcing some 3,000 large mammal species and sensitively reintroducing them back to wilderness areas where their species once roamed freely, among them the endangered black rhino, and rare antelope such as oribi and klipspringer. The reintroduction of elephants to the reserve in June this year completed the Big Five collection, joining lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo on the reserve.
Visitors are welcome to stay at one of Babanango Game Reserve’s accommodations, which includes Matatane Camp, Valley Lodge, Zulu Rock Lodge, and the newly launched Madwaleni River Lodge. Those staying at Zulu Rock Lodge will be welcomed by Mandisa and her team for an exquisite stay at this stunning site boasting breathtaking views. Ideal for a weekend getaway or mid-week retreat, Zulu Rock Lodge ensures a personalised experience where guests are immersed in the natural world – with no fences to hinder that connection!