Our roots and inspiration
Founded in 2000 by global entrepreneur and conservationist, Adrian Gardiner, Mantis is a diverse collection of extraordinary destinations spanning every continent on Earth. Rooted in conservation, Mantis pursues sustainable business practices and develops tourism products that are respectful of the environment and communities in which they operate.
Our first property was built on a hardscrabble patch of degraded bushveld between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown. Carefully restored and nurtured, the land slowly came back along with the animals and developed by Gardiner into Shamwari Game Reserve – which today is one of the leading safari locations in the country. Adrian’s private residence was converted into Founder’s Lodge by Mantis. It lies adjacent to Shamwari and sets the standard for a luxury African Game Farm experience.
The concept of creating a collection of exceptional, individual lifestyle experiences centred around a common unifying purpose was sparked at the time Adrian Gardiner, Chairman of Mantis, was establishing Shamwari.
The symbol of the African Mantis, occupying a unique space in the animal kingdom – punching way above its weight with a unique set of survival skills that allow the species to flourish where others have failed – can be found at unique destinations spread across all seven continents.
Whether small and intimate or vast and complex, on a sweeping African plain, bustling city, private tropical island or frozen snowscape, each is an exceptional place for guests to find themselves. While uniquely different in the experiences they offer, all are linked through a collective obsession to be extraordinary, to be rare in a world that mass-produces sameness.
Mantis consistently curates, collects and discovers destinations and experiences that stir the soul, defy expectation and live in the heart forever. We will do anything in our power to advance the cause of sustainability and to promote further appreciation of the land, its creatures and our communities. We believe that the truly rare needs to be looked after and protected for future generations and are wholly committed to Legacy Creation.