Team & Reviews

“The staff are a unique group of people, so welcoming and caring. There is such a nice spirit here” – Rhino Ridge Lodge Manager, S’phamandla Shabalala

You will immediately feel the sense of community ownership when you visit Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge – there is an enthusiasm, warmth and professional pride in every interaction with the staff of the lodge. Says Lodge Manager S’phamandla Shabalala “It is Isibindi Africa’s commitment to staff development that attracted me to take up the position at this lodge.” Employing locals from the Hlabisa community, S’phamandla explains “I love taking staff from a basic level and growing them into competent professionals. It is so rewarding and such a sense of achievement.”

The level of professionalism achieved by S’phamandla and his team saw Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge receiving that rare accolade of “Certificate of Excellence” from TripAdvisor within their first months of opening. Here’s who you will find making every effort to make you happy and comfortable during your stay at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge.

What Our Guests Say

  • Had the most amazing stay at Rhino Ridge. The staff were very professional and incredibly nice. Kept us smiling all weekend. Lots of thanks to Progress. You made our trip ! Also definitely recommend the bush walk. Until next time. best, Peter We stayed at Rhino Ridge for two nights as a family in two Bush Villas. Rhino Ridge is a magnificent venue. Our stay was fantastic. The rooms are beautiful, The setting is high on a ridge overlooking the bush. The service is outstanding. The staff are charming, friendly and thoroughly delightful. There is plenty of delicious food. All meals are part of the package. Our game ranger, Lindi, was amazing. We saw lots of game and learnt so much and had so much fun. I would recommend Rhino Ridge for a great luxurious and relaxing break away to individuals, couples and families alike. We would love to go back.
  • Bev and I (and the rest of the Sleep Party) wanted to thank you for an absolutely wonderful trip that you organized for us. Both Rhino Ridge and Thonga Beach Resort were outstanding. The accommodation, food and hospitality were world class and we were treated like royalty. Most notable was how all the staff treated all of us.
    Darryl and Bev Sleep
  • Barely entering in the park, we came across elephants, rhinos, kudus, zebras, baboons... This game reserve and Rhino Ridge Lodge were the highlight of our trip in Kwazulu-Natal. WoW!! Brand new, the lodge has all that one needs to spend an amazing time in nature. The lodge is modern, beautifully decorated. The common areas (dining and living rooms) are spacious, modern and cosy. The staff was efficient, helpful and kind. Always available and welcoming. We stayed in a villa that has all the greatest comfort. Large and comfortable beds. Beautifully decorated and modern. Very clean. Spacious bathroom (loved the shower). Private deck with private pool and view on the park. The food was excellent: fresh and tasty. Diner in boma available. Amazing game drives (included) in the morning and in the afternoon. The reserve is big and diverse. Our guides was passionate and implicated, knowledgeable, kind, and funny. We got to see amazing animals every time we went on a drive. He knew exactly where to go to have the best views on the animals. Nice initiative to have a dedicated guide for your whole stay. We learnt a lot about the region and about his culture. He made our safaris. We highly recommend this lodge, if you are looking for a pure safari experience with absolute and tasteful comfort.
  • I've visited South Africa over 5 times and this is without a doubt the best service I've EVER received here. Myself and roughly 30 other friends booked out this lodge for a wedding party and we couldn't have been happier. The staff were on point with dietary requirements, special party requests, babysitting services and all out general care and passion. Apart from the location and standard of the rooms and facilities, the staff at this lodge are what make it an unforgettable stay. The rooms are beautiful, spacious and eco-friendly, the safaris are of course brilliant and the views are spectacular. Everyone needs to experience this at some point! Stayed January 2017, travelled with friends
    Naskaya, Australia

Our Team

Dave Wylie
General Manager

Dave who is of Scottish descent but speaks excellent Zulu without a trace of an accent started life off as a farmer! He hails from the South Coast of KZN where he worked for an NGO assisting with agricultural development. His hotel training started off in the well known Protea group where he worked in various departments before joining Rhino Ridge in March 2016. Dave is a keen golfer and loves all types of fishing. One of his more memorable occasions was when a bull elephant decided to pay the lodge a visit and very nearly came in the front door!

S’phamandla Shabalala
Hospitality Lodge Manager

“It is Isibindi Africa’s commitment to staff development that attracted me to take up the position at this lodge.” Employing locals from the Hlabisa community, S’phamandla explains “I love taking staff from a basic level and growing them into competent professionals. It is so rewarding and such a sense of achievement.”

Nunu Jobe
Walking Trails Guide

“The Wilderness is our original home that still lingers in every human” believes Nunu Jobe, who hails from a community adjacent to uMkhuze Game Reserve.

His passion for conservation evolved into a successful seven-year career as a Trails Ranger, sharing his unique philosophy with guests in Imfolozi’s Wilderness.

Nunu’s dream of creating partnerships between neighbouring communities and park tourism is being realised through Isibindi Africa Trails where he is Operations Director.

Promise & Lungi
Spa Therapists

Spa therapists, Promise and Lungi, have thrived in their time at Rhino Ridge.

They both arrived completely untrained and with no work experience whatsoever. However, through the dedication of Spa Training Manager Glynn, and their own perseverance, they have become fully fledged spa therapists who have both been awarded certificates to practice professionally by the International Esse Institute.


Nomvelo, is just one example of how the lodge's socio-economic efforts have benefitted members of the community.

Nomvelo comments, "For me, working at Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge has been great. I enjoy meeting new people and working alongside the friendly staff. Since the lodge opened in March 2015, I have been promoted twice from a general worker to housekeeping and now I work as a receptionist in Front of House. Rhino Ridge has changed my life!"


Zama, who started her journey at Rhino Ridge as a gardener in February 2015, has grown in leaps and bounds within a year, and now takes on the role as a housekeeper at the lodge.

In Zama's own words "I came to Rhino Ridge as a gardener. Since then, I have learnt many other skills and have been promoted to housekeeper - and not just any housekeeper because I strive to give our guests the best service. Rhino Ridge has the winning formula when it comes to making superstars out of their employees."