About Blyde River Wilderness Lodge

The Lodge, situated in an oasis of Jackelberry trees and giant Fig trees, rests on the bank of the Blyde River. Guests are often treated to the splashing performance of a pod of wild Hippos in the water, or the haunting call of the African Fish Eagle as it flies overhead. Nyalas (antelope) roam freely on the pristine green lawns, living in harmony with a family of Peacocks and Horses.

A blend of Contempory and African decor compliments the beauty of the lodge's surroundings as well as being set amongst large majestic Jackelberry and Fig trees, whose shade cascades over the pristine lawn areas. Stylish rooms lead on to the Blyde River and include ensuite bathrooms, tea trays and mini bar.

Scrumptious breakfasts are included and candlelight dinners by arrangement. Enjoy sundowners at the pool or a pick-nick on the lawn with the sounds of the bush to keep you company or take a stroll on the reserve with the resident Giraffe, Zebra, Nyala and Impala.
All rooms are tastefully furnished, and each room leads out onto the tranquil river settings where Crocodiles and Hippos swim by.

Accommodation comprises of 4 Luxury Double / Twin rooms with en-suite bathrooms, 2 Standard double/Twin Rondavels ( WAXBILL & HORNBILL) with ensuite bathrooms, 1 Comfortable PEACOCK Cottage with ensuite bathroom and sitting area, 1 Large Self Catering KIMBA PRIVATE HOUSE with ensuite and private pool which can sleep 4, 1 Large Self Catering OWL House with ensuite which can sleep 6 (4 Adults and 2 Children). 1 Self Catering KINGFISHER Cottage which sleeps 2 and possibly 1 Child

About John Mittan

Born in South Africa in 1979, John immigrated to Perth in Western Australia with his family at the age of 5. He had already been introduced to the wonders of the bush however and memories of family camping trips in South Africa's coastal and wildlife reserves, combined with expeditions to Australia's wild areas and return trips to Africa, drove him to register for a Biological Science degree in Sydney, taking subjects such as biology, microbiology, ecology and geology.

On finishing university, John decided on the spur of the moment to join a game ranging course run by EcoTraining in the South Africa lowveld and within three weeks he had packed up and returned to South Africa. A month of intensive training in guest relations, birds, plants, animals, insects, geology, ecology, weapons handling and walking followed, with John's performance earning him a position as an instructor on the course after completion.

Having gained experience in this position John went on to work as a guide and then head guide at a lodge in the lowveld, where he also worked with a research organization called K.E.R.I. on a study of leopard and cheetah

The dedication of Wilderness Safaris towards the environment, communities and people struck a chord with John and in April 2003 he was offered a position as a senior guide/guide trainer with the company inNamibia. The move to Namibia was a fulfilling one for John and became an experienced specialist guide and guide trainer, working in both fields all over Namibia and at all of the company's 13 camps in the country and other camps in the countries the company worked in. In addition he works in cooperation with NGOs and donor bodies, and believes that since the future of the environment lies in the hands of the youth, this is where training is most needed. In 2006, John took over the Guide Training Department for Wilderness Safaris Namibia and was responsible for training and developing 80 full time guides in all the camps of Namibia as well as doing Guide Training for approximately 200 potential guides for the government department of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture under the Directorate of Youth Development. John also aided in training in other countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.

Having gained a name for himself, John has now guided in Southern Africa, East Africa, Central Africa and North Africa and has now expanded himself to guide in places like Madagascar and Antarctica. He leads either specialist or private Safaris as Guide and Expedition leader

John specialises in many areas of flora and fauna but has gained a reputation in birding, photography, geology and primates, which led him to lead many trips to the Chimpanzee's and famous Gorilla's of Uganda and Rwanda. He has been leading trips for the past 8 years to see Antarctica, Borneo and Ethiopia.

He now currently resides in the Limpopo province running a family owned lodge where it is the base to lead his Safaris around Africa and the world and also helps with Guide Training in the area.

About Cynthia Shikwambana

Cynthia welcomes each guest with warmth and the assurance that she will do everything in her power to make their time in the bush extra special. She chuckles as she tells me, "I call the lodge, my baby.".

When she goes on break, always she goes first to greet her granny. It was her grandmother, Irene, who raised Cynthia and she is still her hero. "She taught me to dream big, to broaden my horizons and never let challenges defeat my resolve to succeed." . Having built her own home in Tzaneen she knows her children have a second chance because of her work.

Her dream had always been to be a nurse, to help people who are suffering for she has "a soft spot for people." But, it was necessary that she find work after graduation.

The hospitality industry seemed to fit perfectly with her abundant people skills and she found her first job as a housecleaner. Happily, this led to working at the Blyde Wilderness Lodge where she says, "I was welcomed with warm arms by Vicky Mittan who has taught me everything I know in the business. We would drive together to the lodge everyday, when she first became the owner, and we worked together to make it beautiful."

The lodge has become her second family and since she is very grateful for all the assistance and learning she continues to receive from the Mittans, the staff and the guests. Cynthia now works with John Mittan since end 2008 when he came back from Guiding and Guide training in Africa, to help create this successful business with Cynthia. They are an amazing team who have worked together now or many years and have gained a lot of mutual respect and support for one another.

Today Cynthia manages the staff and the guests with great ease and care. She has been trained in massage and enjoys using her skill to help people relax even more deeply into the peace of the bush, lulled by the cry of the fish eagles and the snorts of the hippos downstream. She confided with a nod and a smile that "this lodge may just be the best in the area."


Blyde River Wilderness Lodge

Surrounded by the tranquil Blyde River and the majestic Drakensberg mountains, this thatched lodge is set in a Private reserve, in an area famous for its panoramic scenery, birdlife, fauna and flora.

Contact

Telephone: + 27 (0)15 793 2274
Cynthia: + 27 (0)71 149 6365
Facsimile: + 27 (0)86 699 8179
Mobile: + 27 (0)71 399 0036
Email: info@blyderiverwilderness.co.za
Skype Address: blyderiverwildernesslodge
PO Box 568, Hoedspruit 1380, South Africa