Meet Bryce! The gourmet chef turned lodge Manager

If you’ve been to Nambiti Hills before, then you will most certainly recognise this face. It’s the warm, welcoming smile and his bubbly character that makes Bryce such a great host. We asked him a few questions about life, his loves and everything in-between to find out a little bit more about the man behind the smile.

What happens in a typical day in the life of Bryce?
Typical? There’s no such thing. Every day for me here at Nambiti Hills is a different one. The day could take me from being out in the bush, fighting a water pump, to arranging a romantic proposal for a guests who wants to surprise his girlfriend, to meeting suppliers and sampling all the delicious ingredients, ensuring the best quality tastes and flavours for our guests. As the lodge’s General Manager, I’ve got a pretty multifunctional role, and I love it that way.

What is your favourite thing about Nambiti Hills?
Definitely the people – both the ones who work here with me, and the ones we get to meet from around the world. I’m a people’s person and I love getting to know guests, listen to their incredible stories from afar and join them as they discover African wildlife at its best.

Which of the Big 5 is your favourite?
The Elephant. Did you know that their brains develop as they age? Similar to humans, the older they get, the wiser they become. No to mention that they’re just awesome creatures; big, beautiful, powerful and very in-tune with their families.

Did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?
Not at all. My life before Nambiti Hills was a bit all over the place. I was young and fresh out of school and not all that sure what to do with myself. So I studied law for a while and then geography and environmental management until I finally settled on a culinary arts course which I thrived at. I came to Nambiti Hills for my first job as the in-house chef and grew in experience and life skills. After a while though, I realised that I needed to be out there with the guests, that’s where I am the happiest. It took me a while to realise it, but I am so thankful that the path has led me to where I am today.

What do you do when you’re not making people happy at Nambiti Hills?
I live in Kloof, a small “village” about 30 minutes from central Durban. My dad, my brother and I are all very close, so we spend a lot of time together just relaxing around a fire and catching up every time I go home, which is about once a month.

What could you not live without?
Fresh air! And Franklin… my best buddy. He’s a Basset Hound and he lives with me at the lodge. He’s my inseparable partner in crime.

What do you love about South Africa?
What’s not to love? We are so lucky here, with the beauty and diversity of our country – the people, the animals, the scenery and landscapes. We live in an amazing place.

Snapped on Safari

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January at Nambiti Hills has come and gone so quickly. Which means it’s time for me to daydream through all of the photographs that have been sent in by guests or taken by our rangers; to select the top five or six wildlife photographs for our Month In Pictures blog post. And it’s a time I love.

Because our days here are filled with exciting game drives that start bright and early, and finish late into the afternoon with the setting of the hot African sun, there isn’t much time to spend appreciating the wild moments that are caught on camera. Yes, appreciating the moment while it’s happening is by far the best way to do it but when that moment is caught on camera, there’s a significance that lasts forever. It’s always on hand, and it’s always special.

Here are a few of my favourite pictures:

The three stooges: three very unique animals, who all seem to have decided that this was their “good” side when it came to having their portraits taken. Either that, or there’s a lion lurking in the bushes to the left.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what kind of story do these wrinkles tell?

Why did the hyena cross the road?
To get to the other side…where another predator had recently made a kill. In this little guy’s mind, “dinner is served.”

If you have any special safari moments to add to our collection, please share them with us on any one of the social platforms below:

Twitter: | @Nambiti Hills
Trip Advisor: | Search: Nambiti Hills

Ranger Iris

The Hippo Yawn

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If you ever wanted proof that dinosaurs once existed…the Hippopotamus is it. Slow and solid, these almighty beasts are both scary and bewildering at the same time.

The Greeks refer to them as River Horses because the amphibious Hippo spends the better part of its day, about 16 hours of it, submerged in water. This is both to help keep their massive bodies cool in the harsh African sun, as well as to act as a great defence against possible predators.

If you’ve been to Nambiti Hills and have watched a watering hole you would have noticed a series of little bubbles popping up now and then. If we had a view from beneath, we would see bulky but amazingly graceful giants walking along the river floor. Hippos are great swimmers and can hold their breath underwater for up to five minutes – which is a lot longer than you or I could. With their nostrils and eyes placed right on the top of their heads for easy access to the air above, living under water comes easily. And those teeth! If you thought you once caught a Hippo yawning, you’d be wrong. The Hippo “Yawn” in which they open their mouths wide and bear a set of massive tusk-like canines is actually a threat display to territorially ward off other Hippos or predators.

We find that the best times to enjoy a Hippo sighting and watch them in action is when we head out on our evening game drives as the sun sets over a red horizon. This is when they trudge out of the water to graze. Slow and steady, but determined, the Hippo can eat up to 35kgs of grass in one sitting. Given that the average Hippo weighs up to 3.5 tons, that’s actually not a lot.

Join us for an exciting getaway at Nambiti Hills and we’ll get you up close and personal with the third largest living land mammal, in all its hulk-like glory.

Ranger Iris

Meet Joe, Our Wild at Heart Ranger!

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If you’ve been so lucky as to be escorted around Nambiti Hills in the back of Ranger Joe’s game viewer, then you’ll know what we mean when we say ‘quietly funny’, ‘hugely intelligent’ and sometimes, ‘just a little bit crazy’! That’s our Joe – and we love him. So we thought we’d get him to answer some questions about himself so that you could get to know and love him too.

What’s a typical day in the life of Ranger Joe?
I’m the lucky one who gets to wake everyone up at the crack of dawn. No really… it all starts at 3:30am. We open the lodge, prepare tea and coffee and knock on guests’ doors at 4:00am. Apart from that morning ritual, every single day is different for me because on a game drive you can never be sure of what surprises Mother Africa has in store. Today it could be a lion kill, tomorrow a leopard tracking guided walk, or even a lazy day spent around the watering hole as all the wild animals come to visit. I also collect guests from the lodge gate which is always exciting for them because I’m the first pretty face they get to see.

What is your favourite thing about Nambiti Hills?
I’m away from home quite a lot so the best thing about working here is that it doesn’t feel like I am. This is family.

What is your favourite animal?
All my previous guests will be able to answer that – I’m constantly on the look out for the giraffe. They’re beautiful and majestic, towering over us all. They’re also inquisitive and a real crowd-pleaser… always happy to pose for a photo.

Do you have a special spot that you always take guests to?
Absolutely! But you’re crazy if you think I’m telling you where it is.

If you could have a dinner party here at Nambiti Hills Private Game Lodge, which 5 people would you invite (dead or alive)?
1. DJ Tira – I really like his up-beat music.
2. Pastor Zondo – his words positively affect my life and I find he is a great motivator for me.
3. Mahlaba – my all-time favourite soccer player.
4. Clive Barker – my all-time favourite coach. I’d talk to both of them about the game and get some tips.
5. Nelson Mandela – who wouldn’t! This man is my hero. I only wish I had the privilege of meeting him.

How do you relax?

I’m quite social so I enjoy a Shisa Nyama, you know, a traditional style braai or barbecue with my family and of course, a game of soccer with my friends.

Start your year in ‘Nambiti Hills’ Style

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The start of a new year is always an exciting time as people set new goals and resolutions and make plans to do better and live happier. It just so happens that we’re on the same page, with every intention of starting 2016 in the best possible way: in true Nambiti Hills style!

Only 3 ½ hours from Johannesburg or 2 ½ hours from Durban, our luxury private game lodge is a hidden gem that is well within your reach. If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway after a busy festive season then sit on our private porch and enjoy the wildlife that roams freely in front of you. Treat yourself to some pampering “me-time” at our world-class Zolile Spa or set out in search of the Big 5 on our early morning and late afternoon game drives.

If you’re energized about the start of a new year and want to get it off on the right foot, join our rangers for an exhilarating guided walk through the African bush and discover other various wildlife and birdlife. Get inspired by the views that surround you, and be moved by mother-nature in all her rugged African beauty. Indulge in a selection of hand-crafted gourmet tastes and flavours that will take you on a culinary journey.

There really is something for everybody – and everybody deserves a little piece of the Nambiti Hills magic. There’s no better way to start your year, than in 5-star luxury. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Ranger Iris.

Last ray of sunsets