Boutique Stays Southern Africa

Founders Lodge by Mantis. South Africa

Founders Lodge offers one of the best locations to see Africa’s Big Five and was founded by Adrian Gardiner in October 2016. The story begins with the Shamwari Game Reserve which he founded previously in the Eastern Cape. It was then that he discovered that the region was once teeming with wildlife and it became his vision to restore a vast tract of farmland to its former glory. With this in mind he successfully re-wilded this part of the Eastern Cape and brought explorers and discoverers from all over the world to enjoy luxury accommodation and intimate encounters with nature. 

The Legacy

Adrian is regarded by many as the founder of conservation tourism in the Eastern Cape and has left a deep footprint in the global conservation and hospitality community. His original vision connected the Garden Route with the Big Five, all within driving distance from Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and in a malaria-free region.

In 2000, Adrian formed the award-winning Mantis Collection that today owns or represents 88 hospitality establishments situated on every continent across the globe and has become a symbol for standards and value.

Pool at Founders Lodge.

He now offers a small, select number of guests the opportunity to stay over at his original residence, the secluded Founders Lodge, and to experience all of its serenity as well as viewing the Big Five at the adjacent Shamwari.

Founders Lodge

With 19 staff members working at Founders Lodge looking after guests, the property was designed to provide a sense of belonging. The lodge itself was designed and built around a completely indigenous garden courtyard which leads to all the social spaces and guest rooms.

Each suite has a private verandah that opens onto lush lawns and the never-ending vista of bushveld and open skies. As a destination, Founders  stands alone.

All six suites have a full en-suite bathroom with a bath and shower. Two of the suites’ bathrooms are open-plan while the rest are private.

Founders Lodge

All on the Same Page

It is worth mentioning that Founders Lodge prefer to deal with suppliers who help them contribute to conservation and who can supply them with environmentally friendly products and assist them with recycling,

To this end they promote locally-made goods in support of their local communities. For example, their wine and curio shop suppliers also offer contributions to anti-poaching and conservation.


In 2019, Founders will be embarking on a research and development journey that will set it apart as an innovative eco lodge. They will also be upgrading the existing boma. While details are being kept close to their chest, it will be a very exciting and important year for them reflecting not only their ideals but their passion for bringing great stays to their guests.

PRICE: R 12 500 – R17 200 prpn

ADDRESS: Paterson, Eastern Cape, South Africa

TELEPHONE NUMBER: 041 404 9300 / lodge number: