Conservation pioneer and Founder and Chairman of Mantis, a South-Africa conservation-focused hospitality group, Adrian Gardiner has lovingly restored and converted a railway carriage he bought in the 1990s into luxury accommodation at Mantis Founders Lodge located 72km from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth). Originally built in the 1970s, this railway carriage was used for business and family travel around South Africa for many years. The Founders Railway Carriage is permanently stationed at the top of the hill within Mantis’ private concession.
The Founders Railway Carriage accommodates a total of five guests and includes three cabins, consisting of the main compartment and two smaller two-berth and one-berth cabins, as well as a restored bathroom. There are also indoor and outdoor dining, lounge areas, an expansive deck with a private swimming pool, a boma area and a ‘Ticket Office’ which is an outdoor bathroom facility. Guests staying at the Founders Railway Carriage will have A dedicated personal team will go above and beyond to ensure guests have a truly wonderful stay.
Mantis Founders Lodge features seven suites. In addition to the Founders Railway Carriage, there is the Honeymoon Pod perched above the central lodge; the contemporary suites that come with a private veranda; the Heritage Wing is perfect for families. The lodge also features a drawing room with a fireplace, a library, a bar, a boma, a formal dining room, and a casual dining space. There are also two outdoor swimming pools and a gymnasium with a steam room. Guests are treated to authentic South African cuisine with a contemporary twist; with fresh produce coming from the onsite garden. The onsite museum is complete with an array of unique memorabilia and photographs collected on Adrian’s many journeys, a priceless isiXhosa bead collection and a small curio shop.
Mantis Founders Lodge offers a safari experience in the birthplace of Eastern Cape conservation. The Rhino Observation and Monitoring guest experience, the Interactive Wildlife Tracks and Signs offer guests the opportunity to join expert rangers to observe the wildlife. The Mantis Impact Experiences are focused on conservation and community impact, safari game drives (rhinos, warthog and giraffe are some of the animals that can be spotted) within the lodge’s private concession, bird watching, guided nature walks within a rare biome and big five game drive experiences.
The Founders Railway Carriage is available for exclusive use for $1960 per night on an all-inclusive basis for an average family of two adults and two children (includes a dedicated personal team, all meals, soft drinks and local beer/ wine and game drives and onsite activities). The Heritage Wing and the Family Suite cost $1,884 per night (includes accommodation, all meals, soft drinks and local beer/ wine and daily guided game drives and onsite activities). The rate for Honeymoon Pod and contemporary suites starts from $1,260 per night (includes accommodation, all meals, soft drinks and local beer/ wine and daily guided game drives and onsite activities).
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