our story a journey with purpose
A 28 year legacy of conservation and communities
The founders and owners of Isibindi Africa Lodges, Brett and Paige Gehren, both come from a conservation background. This family owned and run luxury safari, island and beach collection of wilderness lodges is positioned in exceptional ecosystems in Southern Africa. Twenty-eight years of pioneering sustainable wildlife lodges, that is built on the bedrock that they include and empower our neighbouring communities.
“We aren’t just offering the safari of a lifetime, we’re offering a future”
The Isibindi Family
A family business, we don’t operate lodges that we don’t own, every one of our camps we have built and we run. It starts as an Isibindi vision, it evolves and unfolds into somewhere special, an exceptional location with considered spaces, which we would have chosen for our honeymoon or wanted to take our children to holiday. Having happy staff is an integral part of our business, we have a lot of fun at Isibindi doing what we do and we want to share that with you. We live by the motto courage & fun.
“Our natural responsibility,
JOURNEY WITH PURPOSE”
The Isibindi Foundation
The Isibindi Foundation was established in 2019 to consolidate our 23 years of community and conservation projects, and to also create a purpose driven entity to assist these initiatives. The Foundation allows our guests to be philanthropic travellers and to journey with purpose.
“ Travel is powerful when it connects us to a purpose and a community.”
- Tom Brown Jr.
Connecting to our eco-conscious community
Our purpose drives us all at Isibindi Africa Lodges, and so we are committed to incorporating eco-conscious systems and initiatives wherever possible, this includes:
Removing single use plastics which includes replacing plastic water bottles with a reusable bottle for each guest
Investing in large solar energy farms
Creating micro-economies in neighbouring communities to supply our lodges
Recycling unused lodge food into feeding schemes for neighbouring creches
Refusing to serve seafood that is not ethically harvested
Some fun facts about Isibindi
We nearly turned down Tsowa Safari Island because we thought it may not have enough trees! We also then found out Brett slept directly opposite the island on a 21st camping trip 32 years ago…
During the rush to finish Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge, with our first guests due in a week, nobody missed a beat when a pack of wild dogs took down a nyala between rooms 1 and 2, painters painted, builders built and stylists styled.
The first sighting of a green turtle laying her eggs was witnessed by us on a turtle drive one night at Thonga Beach Lodge, George Hughes (South Africa’s foremost turtle expert) was in camp giving talks to guests, and we raced back to fetch him, and he was able to verify.
At Kosi Forest Lodge 23 years ago, our Kosi Bay Lakes mouth activity started with a 10km walk and then a 12km canoe self-paddle. And then all over home again. Over a five-year period, before we brought in boats, we didn’t receive a single complaint!
The Legendary Isibindi Bandana Party was held annually at the Indaba travel show, due to high demand we will be hosting one again soon, watch this space!
Our claims to our insurance company include hyena eating leather couches, hippo’s charging into game viewers, elephant walking over deck to swimming pool, elephant playing with guy ropes and pulling down guest tent and lion chasing kudu into swimming pool.
explore the natural space we call home
Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is located right in the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, South Africa’s ﬁrst proclaimed conservation area. Unlike many other game reserves, Hluhluwe iMfolozi is known for its distinctively hilly terrain. Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is perched on one of Hluhluwe’s many hills, with spectacular views onto the valley below.
About the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
The iconic Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park combines two reserves of unmistakably different character - Hluhluwe and iMfolozi. The park is South Africa’s oldest game reserve, declared in 1890 when authorities realised that white rhinos were on the brink of extinction due to hunting. In the 1950s, Hluhluwe iMfolozi’s Operation Rhino brought the white rhino back from almost certain extinction.
By 1960, every wild white rhino in the world lived in iMfolozi and Hluhluwe. What distinguishes Hluhluwe iMfolozi from other game reserves in South Africa is its hilly topography. Not only is it unusual to ﬁnd an undulating game-rich landscape, but these same hills and mountains provide great vantage points from which to spot wildlife in the variety of bushveld, forests and open savannah below -Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is one of them.
A sanctuary for species great and small
The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park covers an area of approximately 960 square kilometres, with altitudes ranging from 40-590 metres above sea level. The park falls within the savannah biome as the southern extremity of the Maputaland-Pondoland biodiversity ‘hotspot’, an exceptionally biodiverse area and the remarkable meeting point of six of South Africa’s eight major vegetation types. The region also boasts an unusually high number of unique ecosystems and species. Within the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park, there are an estimated 1200 plant species, including 300 tree species and 150 grass species.
The iMfolozi area is situated between the two Umfolozi Rivers. This side of the park is primarily made up of grasslands, which extend into acacia savannah and woodlands and into steep hilly country. The high ridges support coastal scarp forests in a well-watered region with valley bushveld at lower levels. The Hluhluwe region also has hilly topography, but is more rugged and mountainous than the iMfolozi area, with a mix of forests and grasslands.