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The birthplace of conservation in the Eastern Cape

This 7 suite wildlife safari lodge and the new exclusive use Founders Railway Carriage permanently stationed on a hill on the reserve,  located in the Eastern Cape, just one hour from Gqeberha, offers hospitality focused on tailored service. Founders Lodge by Mantis offers an intimate safari experience with a flair of romance for couples, and an intimate social environment for families and friends travelling together.

Founders Lodge is a celebration of essential beginnings in sustainable tourism, culture, conservation, and community inclusion. This lodge is a monument to conservation history, and it offers soul-reviving safaris in the place where Adrian Gardiner pioneered private game reserves and eco-tourism in the Eastern Cape. Guests enjoy intimate nature-inspired experiences focused on the smaller lesser known wildlife and ecology, as well as big five viewing on 4×4 guided game drives on 25000ha of game reserve.

Founders Lodge is a place built on meaningful memory, and offers visitors the special opportunity to learn how this once degraded land, was carefully nurtured and rewilded.

Watch the Founders Lodge by Mantis Guest Experience

View our online brochure here

When making a booking at this hotel, as a member :
  • âś“ I earn Status & Reward points
  • âś“ I can use my Reward points
  • âś“ I benefit from my status advantages
  • âś“ I can take advantage of the Members' rate


classic or contemporary

Founders Lodge by Mantis is intimate with only 7 suites that are accessed easily from the main guest areas, each is a gateway to privacy and exclusive down-time. Earth yourself! Take off your shoes, step off your private patio and onto the lush grass with your eyes fixed on the hilly horizons of our rare biome with distinct flora and fauna. This is how you ‘earth’ yourself, and it’s best done with a cup of tea and our Chef’s homemade biscuits – you’ll find a fresh batch in your room.

In 2021, Founders Lodge, lovingly restored the Founders Railway Carriage and offers a new, exclusive use accommodation, stationed atop a hill, overlooking a magnificent valley, within the Founders private reserve. The charming carriage features an expansive outdoor deck, private swimming pool, dining area and private boma.

Needing some pampering whilst on safari? Founders Lodge offers in-room treatments that promise to leave you rejuvenated and restored by our experienced in-house therapist.



Every dining experience is unique

Lodge Experiences


Nestled between Gqeberha and Grahamstown, Mantis Founders Lodge is the perfect escape into the wilderness. Enjoy tranquillity away from the city and be reminded of the pristine beauty of the natural world.

Access: Follow the N2 east out of Gqeberha, heading towards Grahamstown, bypassing the R342 turn-off.
Continue along the N2, cross the Bushman’s River until you reach the Sidbury sign.
Turn left on the gravel road and follow this road for approximately 15km until you reach a T-junction.
At the T-junction, turn left and travel 500m.
Turn left and follow signboards to Founders Lodge.

GPS 33°27’27”S  26°7’28”E

Click here to download directions

Sidbury, Gqeberha, South Africa, 6131


Interactive Wildlife Tracks and Signs Experience

Contribute towards wildlife conservation

With the art of tracking perhaps being the oldest science, it innately captures our imagination, fuels our curiosity and inspires the urge to interpret the stories left in the sand.
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Rhino Observation and Monitoring

Observe and record data on a species under threat

Rhino conservation is exceptionally important at Founders Lodge by Mantis and in addition to providing top class security and a safe place in their natural habitat to thrive, and provide...
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Bear Grylls Survival Academy Experience for Kids

Learn what it takes to survive in the wild

Founders Lodge by Mantis is the ideal base for a family holiday with the Founders Lodge Kids Conservation Warriors programme, which includes a Bear Grylls Survival Academy experience, taking young...
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Founders Safari Adventure

A plethora of species to spot

Guests can enjoy 4×4 guided game drives on 25000ha of game reserve. Our open game vehicles bring you closer to nature, adds to the excitement, and makes it easy to spot...
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