Our ethos is quite simple really, for us we always wanted to create somewhere our guests felt secure, positioned in a wonderful place within nature, on a great adventure, and completely spoilt! That is what we term as “the Nyumbani Estate experience”.
“What do you mean by that”, we hear you say? “How are you any different to any other Lodge”? Well, one would be justified in asking these questions, especially as there are so many safari lodges out there! The exception to this is, for us, the proof is in the doing!
Nyumbani Estate has been an amazing, life changing, and enriching journey for us, Mr Smith (Ian), and I. When we first acquired the property, we simply enjoyed the land by spending many nights camping under the stars in our roof-top tent. We enjoyed taking in the views, learning about the condition of the land, and the game flow. We could have developed so many types of experiences on this stunning piece of the Blue Canyon Private Nature Reserve, and, despite having full consent to develop up to 18 private homes, serviced by a 36-bed Lodge, our vision took a very different turn. After seeing how different the animal behaviour is when not surrounded by properties, and enjoying such peace and tranquility with low impact ventures. We witnessed, first hand, how easily game settles down when people to animal interaction is so much calmer and low density. Just how great it is to be able to go out and track game, in its most natural surroundings. This resulted in the concept of Nyumbani Estate fully respecting the ethos of low impact, and low density build.
Nyumbani Estate believes in sustaining, restoring, and developing a stunning example of nature, in its natural surrounds. We believe the animals should be left to roam and survive in as natural an environment as possible. We believe that anyone who chooses to live in the backyard of nature should do so with as little intrusion and interference as possible. It is essential for us to remember who the visitors really are when it comes to nature, and our role and our obligation as custodians to protect and sustain this.
We took the decision to go completely off grid. With no mains electricity, no mains water, and no mains gas, we had to develop a system appropriate, and robust enough to give us the ability to achieve our economic sustainability, without compromise to man, animal, or creatures. This also provided us with the option to make the Estate completely eco-friendly. We operate on the blessings of the sun via our solar system. This provides our power. Our water is obtained directly from the ground, via a solar operated pump. No sun, no water! With only organic products, including all toiletries, cleaning and foodstuff, as well as focusing on developing some up-cycle and re-cycle interventions, through innovative ideas, within the business. Being blessed with so much in our lives, we embraced simplicity in its truest form of providing comfort, safety, security, whilst being extremely comfortable, well taken care of, and making every day about the wildlife and the guests on equal terms.
Our focus on restricting our accommodation to only two spacious chalets has enabled us to maintain a personally focused experience for our guests, whilst being managed within a full service team, as if staying in a luxury 5+ star hotel. Our on-site team consists of a personal Chef, driver, game team (of guide and tracker), housekeeper and groundsman. Mr Smith and I tend to host most of our guest stays, personally. For us, the story is best told by our guests in their reviews of their stay with us on Nyumbani Estate. It truly warms our hearts to see the broad grins on our guests faces as they return from game drive. To hear the ‘gasps of pleasure as they view the Lodge on the night time return from game drives. To hear the ‘exclamations’ of delight as they are served each course of their meals. To witness the enthusiasm over the bush fire stories of the adventures of the day. We are also blessed with tears at check-out from some of our guests as they depart, and the genuine warm hugs as they depart. We absolutely love receiving ongoing correspondence with most of our guests after their return home. Our guests arrive as strangers, but leave as friends.
For us, on Nyumbani Estate, this is what it is all about. Nyumbani, in Swahili means “at home”, so your ‘Home Estate’ is your home in the South African bush. Nyumbani Estate provides a mutually appreciated existence between nature, the Lodge, the guests, and the owners – all having a common interest and a loving passion of learning/adapting to live well, as one, together, and respectfully.
Maxine Smith – Co-Owner and Manager – Nyumbani Estate