Nambiti Conservancy Game Reserve

Passengers enjoying Rovos Rail’s luxury train accommodation will come across their first safari stop at the famous Nambiti Conservancy Game Reserve. A memorable experience awaits visitors entering the Big Five private bush retreat which is found nestled on 20 000 acres of malaria-free bushveld in the historically rich KwaZulu-Natal region. 

Often considered one of the top private bush retreats in Africa, stepping into the Nambiti Conservancy will make the hustle and bustle of South African cities seem like a million miles away. An incredible biodiversity welcomes visitors, offering shade under tall acacia trees and limitless space in the midst of savannah regions, thornveld regions and extensive grasslands which mirror the plains of central Africa.

Nambiti remains the only reserve in the area to feature the world-famous Big Five. Elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo roam freely in the expansive reserve which is one of the few in Africa to house the space and habitat necessary for species to display their natural tendencies. Herbivores roam in large herds as they would have done for centuries in the wild and predators sweep the land in pursuit of their prey.

The sweet, nutritious vegetation and abundant natural water system sees the reserve supporting up to eight times more animals than other game areas, while allowing for some of the largest game concentration in South Africa. During their game drive, passengers aboard the luxury train journey are likely to spot some of the Big Five as well as cheetah, giraffe, hippo, hyena, impala, springbok and zebra. The Sundays River sweeps through the reserve, dotting the landscape with two 40m waterfalls and magnificent ravine bush which is home to a medley of rare bird species.  

The beautiful area around Nambiti has witnessed a wealth of conflict throughout its history, as both the Anglo-Zulu and Anglo-Boer wars took place on the fields and hills surrounding the reserve. Just adjacent to the private game reserve lies the Elandslaagte rail siding which is a historic battle site of the Second Anglo Boer War’s Battle of Elandslaagte, which tore up the landscape from 20 to 21 October 1899. It was also in these hills that the mighty Zulu army dominated the battle of Isandlwana by inflicting the greatest defeat the British Empire had ever suffered. Further history was made that very day at the battle of Rorke’s Drift where the most number of Victorian Crosses for one battle were awarded. 

While the surrounding battlefields speak of the bloody history to claim what the Dutch settlers called “heaven on earth”, today the Nambiti Conservancy illustrates a rousing dedication to preserving the wildlife and eco-system that so sacrificially sustains us.