About Us

A Lodge Steeped In History

Previously known as the Woodlands farm, Cheetah Ridge, has been a big part of the history of the local Ladysmith area. The fig tree that stands tall on the property is over 144 years old! During the Anglo Zulu war of 1879 the British built a temporary post office near the old fig tree at the Cheetah Ridge and when the post office was closed and messengers arrived, instead of using a postal stone to hide the post until the postman’s return, the post would be placed in-between the branches of the fig tree for the postman to collect upon his return.

The Anderson family bought the land in the mid 1900s. When Humphrey Anderson’s son, Dudley Charles Anderson, was of age, he and his son rode out from Ladysmith to a site nearby where Cheetah Ridge now stands. Humphrey gifted Dudley a piece of land to build himself and his family a home, Dudley went on to build a farmhouse, the very farmhouse forms a part of  the lodge at Cheetah Ridge today.

The farmland was used to rear cattle and grow citrus fruits to feed the family and take to the local markets. Dudley nicknamed the valley to the north of the farmhouse, ‘Honey Valley’ due to the abundance of bee hives, which produced the most delicious honey from the pollen and nectar they gathered from the flowering acacia trees, citrus trees and winter aloes.

Around 1980 the farm was bought by a Colonel Odendaal of the South African army. Based in Ladysmith, the Colonel was a clever man, who used the military manpower to conduct training exercises for the troops and engineers having them construct many of the dams around the farmhouse, ultimately training his troops but also much improving the land.

Upon retirement the Colonel sold the land and it eventually made it into the hands of Rob Le Seur who founded Nambiti Private Game Reserve from the Woodlands farm land and surrounding cattle farms in 2005. A place with a soul. That’s what conservation visionary, Rob, was searching for when he serendipitously stumbled on the land that now forms the backbone of Nambiti Private Game Reserve. Rob decided to convert the original, grey-stone farmhouse on one of the properties into a luxury lodge, where Mother Nature’s bounty could not only be preserved, but enjoyed in comfort in lodgings built into the surrounding environment, for generations to come. And so, from modest beginnings, Cheetah Ridge Lodge was born.

Tennis Court at Cheetah Ridge

Meet Our Team

  • Cheetah Ridge Head Guide Phillip

    I have worked in the guiding industry since 1998. I love tracking and trailing animals and love doing wilderness trails. Dogs have a special place in my heart. I have an endless desire to learn, improve, and innovate, that ensures that the wildlife experience at Cheetah Ridge will grow from strength to strength.

    I am eager to teach guides and previously disadvantaged people. The more people we can educate and train to conserve nature, the better for private game reserves like Nambiti.

    My aim is to give the best possible experience when I train and, on the occasions, I get to go out with guests, give then an experience they will never forget. We were tasked to protect nature and its animals, so why aren’t we doing more. First and foremost, we have to be conservationists and not just guides.

    Phillip Wessels
    Group Safari Manager
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Brent

    My name is Brent Jansen van Rensburg, commonly known on the reserve as JvR and although I have always had a deep love for the outdoors and nature itself, it wasn’t until I turned 19 that I was given the amazing opportunity of working outdoors on a family run lodge in the area. It was at this lodge where I received much exposure and was given the opportunity to learn about many guided activities, nature guiding, historical guiding, horse riding, mountain biking and mountain hikes throughout the Drakensberg.

    I came to Nambiti in early 2019 to further my exposure to Big 5 game and the journey has been amazing. I now find myself guiding at Cheetah Ridge and two of the passions that have stuck with me are the nature and the history of the area, I take every available opportunity to share our amazing history with our guests and try my best to bring the history to life in a fun and captivating story line. I look forward to sharing my passions with the guests of Cheetah Ridge as well as learning from the guests too.

    Brent Jansen Van Rensburg
    Head Battlefield Guide
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Gerry

    I started at cheetah ridge on the 1st of October 2021 and what I can say is what an amazing team to be a part of such a family orientated group of people.

    My guiding career started about 10 years ago after leaving school. One of my biggest influences in my love for nature and the bush would have been my grandfather, he Is a geologist and was always in the most remote and wildest places. I had the opportunity to spend lots of time in reserves with him, learning about all sorts of things. He had a passion for all sorts, small too big and loved to learn all about animal behaviour with him. As a young boy I absorbed all of it, finished school and headed straight to the bush to become a guide and a conservationist at heart.

    Some of my greatest passions in the bush are sitting around watching birds or finding new bugs of all sorts. I love looking at tracks as they at times can tell quite a story another passion inherited from my granddad.

    I love sharing my passion of the bush with guests whether it be teaching them about something new or just sharing amazing stories about what I’ve experienced in my 10 years as a student and a guide, although I still feel like a student because you can never stop learning.

    Gerry Jacobs
    Field Guide
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Leslie

    Hi! I am 27, and for the last 2 years took on the opportunity to change careers working in the city to living and working in the bush.
    I’m also an artist turned photographer using my photos as references and combining both passions into being a guide giving guests a unique experience of knowledge with the African bush along with great photography opportunities and pointers.

    My favourite land animal is a cheetah, I find my character is similar to a cheetah’s behaviour, quick fast paced but needs rest after a hard day’s work
    I love anything that flies from planes helicopters to birds and flying insects.

    Leslie Harris
    Field Guide
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Brandon

    Hi, I’m Brandon, and I am a passionate nature guide. I moved from the city to take on a new adventure and immediately found my passion for the bush and its wildlife, and it became my safe place away from all the stresses in life.

    Meeting new people from all over the world and hearing their stories has become a favourite for me. I hope to continue this wild journey and gain all the knowledge I can and share it with others.

    Brandon Delport
    Field Guide
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Kayla

    Nature has always left me in awe. I’m fascinated by the inter-relatedness of everything. Every species exists for a reason and without them all, the ecosystem suffers. Nature is complex and beautiful. Our ecosystem covers every aspect of Mother Earth, including the evolution of the earth & life, the various cycles, all the living things, and more. Collectively, they create something so beautiful and perfect that it can be hard to believe it exists.

    The beauty and power of nature can be quite overwhelming.
    This is the reason it has reinforced my wish to pursue a lifelong career working in the South African Bush. My desire for the future is to share the knowledge and passion I have for the phenomenal wildlife.

    Kayla Marx
    Field Guide
  • Cheetah Ridge Guide Caldon

    I am a young and eager learner, passionate about nature and growing professionally in the guiding industry. A practical person and a specific passion for Photography. I have a wide variety of skills from constantly exposing myself to new challenges. I consider myself an all-rounder, a natural, keen birder, and passionate about trails, tracks, and signs.

    Caldon Bowles
    Field Guide

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