Marks marriage proposal to Melanie

We had the privilege of hosting a wonderful group of guests here at Makanyi Lodge, however, there was a big surprise for one of them. As the guests headed out for their afternoon safari the team got into action to ensure that everything was perfect for the proposal. They arrived at a beautiful set up where Mark played a beautiful song and got down on one knee and asked Melanie to be his wife to which she replied YES! The team would like to wish them a long, happy and blessed marriage. Below are a few of the magical moments captured by Kimberley Byars:


“Left with memories of a fantastic stay” – Robertson Family

“Wow, do you work for National Geographic?” was what another guest said to us when she first saw us in our Land Rover – filled with two adult children sharing a love for wildlife photography (but undoubtedly sharing no more than amateur status), a father reminiscing about the days of ISO films and a mother armed with an iPhone and with a budding interest in birding. We certainly looked the part from the outset, with our new DSLRs and hired telephoto lenses mounted on the gimbal heads that the Makanyi photographic vehicle is fitted with. By the end of our stay at Makanyi, with the help of Hilton Kotze (a professional photographer and outstanding photographic host from Africa Photographic Services) we had moved from fumbling with the buttons on our cameras and just about taking a bird in focus on a branch in the distance to capturing numerous birds taking off, impala leaping, scorpions battling dung beetles and so much more.

We had been on two safaris previously as a family and decided to book a photographic safari at Makanyi so we could learn how to make the most of our cameras and take some photos that would wow us and our friends. We hired three telephoto lenses from Africa Photographic Services and were accompanied by Hilton for two days of our five night stay. During that time, we moved from cautiously rotating our cameras on their mounts, to experimenting with zoom bursting, lying on the ground to get eye level shots of mongooses and dung beetles, crouching with tripods to capture the starry nights, leaning out of the vehicle to frame an imposing elephant snorting and getting our settings just right to capture a leopard at night, lit up perfectly by the spot light. Hilton, Rico (our ranger) and Themba (our tracker) worked really well together to ensure the three photographers in our group got the photos we wanted and all had a great view of sightings without too much ducking around each others long lenses! Hilton also spent the time between drives teaching us how to use Lightroom for post-processing. We entertained the other guests with our morning set up of sitting with laptops, cables and cameras all over the table and sipping champagne (brought to us by the always attentive Makanyi staff).

For three of us (Grant, Alastair and Jo), photography was a highlight of our stay but for Margaret (the only non-photographer), the real treat was being able to stay at sightings for long enough to hear so much of Rico’s knowledge. We were spoiled with day time game drives, night drives and a walking safari– which all offered different opportunities to learn about the bush and which we can now talk about to find out who remembers the most! We are so fortunate and grateful to have had such patient and generous hosts. Our time at Makanyi was filled with learning and much laughter. Rico and Hilton brought out the best in all of us (not only in terms of photography) and we have left with memories of a fantastic stay and several photos we’ll be proud to display at home.


Bupa Travel Insurance chose us as one of the ‘World’s Most Luxurious & Exclusive Holidays’

f money was no object, where in the world would you go?’ asks Bupa Travel Insurance. They continue, ‘Let your imagination run wild with thoughts of spotting a mischievous cheetah in Africa or perfecting your warrior pose on a private island yoga retreat.’ There’s no need to ponder any longer! While residing at our atmospheric lodge, you’ll be a lion’s roar away from the world-renowned Kruger National Park, full of Africa’s most exciting and exotic game. Spot elephants and rhinos from the safety of our state-of-the-art vehicles; the supremely fortunate may even catch a glimpse of the rare white lion, which resides in the Timbavati region.

In their article, ‘World’s Most Luxurious & Exclusive Boutique Holidays ’, the holiday insurer has whittled the down the world’s very best experiences and the ultimate in luxury accommodation, with Makanyi Private Game Lodge being named as one of the best places to experience a South African safari. “Looking to tick the ‘Big Five’ off your bucket list?” asks Bupa. “It’s on safari in South Africa where you’ll witness the out-of-this-world moments that make travelling so appealing.”

A safari adventure is like no other holiday, as you experience the jaw-dropping wonders nature provides. The remote location and exotic nature have rightfully earned an African safari a place on most wanderlust bucket lists. But there are plenty of other awe-inspiring activities available at Makanyi. We provide guided bush walks and fishing trips for those seeking alternative adventures in the South African wilderness. Despite our rural location in the spectacular plains of the reserve, you won’t have to compromise on comfort when you stay at Makanyi, as the article is quick to advise.

Bupa describes Makanyi Private Game Lodge, ‘Exclusive is the order of the day in the seven open-plan suites in Timbavati. From free-standing baths, open fires and plush beds draped in mosquito nets with unparalleled views to the fine cuisine and even finer list of cocktails, every detail at this lodge demonstrates quality.’ The opulent experience extends all the way to the relaxing spa treatments on offer, which can be enjoyed from the privacy of your room. Honeymooners who opt for our dedicated suite will enjoy the additional luxury of a private plunge pool, gazing up at the stars from our relaxing corner of South Africa.

You can read more about the article here: http://www.bupa.com.au/travel-insurance/worlds-most-luxurious-boutique-hotels