Why book a stand alone lodge?
One thing the owners of some of our favourite lodges In Africa all have in common (other than beautiful sunsets and being surrounded by magnificent wilderness areas) is the challenge of being heard above the white noise of the bigger, louder, more corporately owned lodges. So, here are some of the benefits that you find at these wonderful lodges.
#1 Short Chain of Command
Owner run lodges have the main decision holders / owners within a call away. Great for the highest of issues and where necessary on site to handle things on the ground.
Chundukwa River Lodge [Livingstone, Zambia] is the perfect example of owner run – for Doug Evans & Gail Kleinschmidt, Chundukwa is home – and always has been. Over the last 4 years they have systematically ensured that every corner of this beautiful bush camp reflects their passion and personalities. They ensure that one of them has a meaningful conversational with their guests every day.
#2 Unique Experiences
If a lodge has its own personality and individual energy through the owners, then the experience that our guests are offered will be also individual and not a run of the mill experience.
Muchenje Safari Lodge [Chobe, Botswana] is driven to bring new experiences to our guests – from the lodge with private sundowners, new dining venues, countless different and varied activities to further explore the Chobe and enjoy a safari with us. Chobe is sometimes seen as a tame safari in Botswana – but the outstanding safari experience ensures that it is anything but. With countless ways to enjoy this quieter western side of the Chobe – every day is different.
#3 Vested Interest
Often the passion that fuels an owner to run a lodge is a desire to connect with Africa on a deeper level. As with many own-run lodges there is a deep-seated need to conserve –through community empowerment and conservation protection.
Anvil Bay [Mozambique] is a perfect blend of both and triumphs this mandate in the remotest of destinations, thanks to the dream of the founders Paul & Ricky Bell. Having spent many happy holidays exploring this unique coastline – Anvil has evolved into unique and perfect African beach destination. Every detail and every activity was imagined and experienced before being offered to our guests. Intricate knowledge and logistical know how, bring amazing experiences showcasing this beach destination and most importantly provide a sustainable business for the Chemucane Community who are the Bell’s business partners.
With owners on the ground or within shouting distance, one of the most sought-after assets of an owner run property is its flexibility. Being able to adapt experiences to our individual guests is key to a happy guest and therefore great feedback and spreading the word.
Setari Camp [Okavango Delta, Botswana] is relatively new but is proving it can run with the big dogs! This is due to the hugely experienced owners Grant Truthe & Kate Holmes – with decades of safari life and operator wisdom Grant and Kate knew exactly what the industry needed – a true water camp. Providing exactly what the market needed is one thing, but cleverly managing to offer as much as possible (water wise) in this remote island in the heart of the Okavango without the guests even realising they needed. Understanding your limits but making it work for each guest is mastery.
#5 Personal Touch
Although every lodge is different – there is an individualism that can be found in owner run lodges. An owner’s personality and flair brings a unique flavour and energy to their lodge. You will often find with owner run properties, that they don’t do the complete overhauls, but rather have an evolving style that fits budgets and changing fashions.
Leopard Mountain [Manyoni Private Game Reserve, South Africa] is a true testimony to this – with regular upgrades over the years, Leopard Mountain has evolved its identity over the years. Ryan and Jo Vivier, that live at the lodge, have their finger on the pulse of current trends and the recent upgrades reflect their style and taste yet provide for the international expectations of a classic safari lodge. Careful planning and considered advice has meant that this little gem in the heart of Zululand eased itself up the ranks of 4 star and without even trying flew into the 5 star market.