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staff stories

The promise of spring brings new life and energy, and just as the bushveld adapts to the season’s shifting climates, so do our gardens to reflect the time of year and tell a new story.

Roots run deep across our magnificent grounds, where you’ll find a spectrum of indigenous trees, plants and flowers, that not only have significant cultural value but that are nurtured and maintained to complement the architectural stance of CheetahPlains and create a tranquil environment for our guests. The man behind our botanical splendour is Paul Themba.

For nearly five years, Paul’s green fingers have been hard at work in the garden, tending to the pruning, planting, sowing and propagation of the plants that make up the plethora of species which are delicately balanced with the natural biodiversity of the bushveld savannah. Paul finds deep meaning working in the bush, especially after previously having been in construction, and has even witnessed a lion-buffalo chase while on the job, which very few can say.

Since the opening of our boutique at Cheetah Plains, we have embarked on a collaborative journey with a number of design makers to create bespoke pieces for our guests to take home. Our most recent keepsake, perfectly in time to launch for spring, is our garden-inspired, hand-illustrated silk scarf. Paul enthusiastically shared in the process of finding the muse for the design from the Tamboti, Wild Fig and Matumi trees, all of which are endemic to our garden.

Taking great pride in our indigenous plant selection, Paul believes it tells a story of our culture and instills deeper meaning when one understands the role each species plays in the natural environment and ecosystem of the Sabi Sand. Plant enthusiasts are often in awe of the natural wonder to this, as it adds yet another layer to the wilderness experience. Passed down through generations, the heritage of plants and their traditional uses form an important part of the cultural identity of African people.

September is heritage month in South Africa, a celebration dedicated to recognising and honouring the diverse cultural heritage we share. South Africans take great pride in the rich natural wonders of our land and its people, and at Cheetah Plains, we believe it holds the essence of our unique experience that guests from across the world have come to love and treasure.

Life begins here…


Make cheetah plains your private sanctuary

For a truly exclusive safari experience, the lodge can be booked for sole use.