— How did you end up opening a safari lodge in South Africa?
So in 1994 my wife, Jaci, and I opened our first lodge in Madikwe called Madikwe River Lodge. We sold that in 1997 and went to Mozambique to open another lodge there on the river. In 2000 we opened Jaci’s Lodges in Madikwe and now we have just taken over the management of Cheetah Plains.”
— Dinner al fresco
— Tell me a little bit about Cheetah Plains, the safari lodge.
It’s one of the best big 5 destinations in the world in my opinion. I haven’t seen better big 5 — lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard — anywhere. Apart from the fact that there’s fantastic lion and cheetah, Sabi Sands is known for the leopard. You might have a better chance of seeing them here than anywhere else as far as I’m concerned.”
— Tell me a little bit about the facilities at Cheetah Plains.
We have a place where you can have your massage and, of course, we have a swimming pool. That’s very important because you want to go back home with a sun tan. Otherwise it seems like it wasn’t a good holiday...
We try and look after you from the time you arrive until the time you leave. My thought is that if you’ve got the right people in the right places, your guests all the way from Europe or anywhere else in the world will have the finest sort of experience possible in South Africa. And anywhere else in Sabi Sands you’re going to be paying double or triple our price.”
— So Cheetah Plains is a rather romantic place?
— Cheetah Plains swimming pool
— The Kruger National Park is quite famous. How is the Sabi Sands Reserve different?
It’s a fine way of observing nature very, very close by. All of a sudden, we could take people right up to lions and leopards, maybe 3-5 metres away from the animals. That usually never happened.”
— Game drive at Cheetah Plains
— So each game reserve has its own character?