• 5 – 14 OCTOBER 2022

Return of the lion Expedition

A collaboration between
&Beyond Phinda and African Parks

South Africa | Rwanda






Simon Naylor


Simon Naylor has been an integral part of &BEYOND’S conservation and guiding teams for the better part of two decades. After completing a degree in nature conservation, Simon joined &BEYOND as a guide at &BEYOND Phinda Private Game Reserve. When he got his first glimpse of the sand forest and plains of Phinda, as well as the Indian Ocean and Lake St Lucia, from the plane that was bringing him to his new home, an enduring love affair was born. Five years later, the exciting opportunity arose for Simon to take &BEYOND’s ranger training programme to East Africa.

Drew Bantlin

Conservation & Research Manager Akagera National Park

Drew holds his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in zoology and environmental studies, and is currently working on his PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from the US, Drew has been involved in Akagera National Park since 2015, initially working on his graduate research and then volunteering as a researcher before being employed as conservation research manager in early 2020. Drew hopes to expand scientific understanding of Akagera’s ecosystem, improve monitoring and data collection, and develop and support opportunities for local scientists and students to contribute to Akagera’s conservation goals.

Your journey at a glance

An adventure that truly showcases the incredible things we are capable of when we unite for greater conservation good. Follow in the paw prints of the lionesses translocated from South Africa to Rwanda to reverse a 15 year local extinction.

An exclusive journey for big cat fanatics and adventure-seekers, this 10-day itinerary, which follows in the footsteps of 5 lions translocated from South Africa to Rwanda, to reverse a local extinction, is hosted by Simon Naylor, Conservation Manager at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, and Drew Bantlin, Conservation and Research Manager at Akagera National Park.

This limited-edition trip explores the unique wildlife conservation challenges of both destinations and includes a host of hands-on conservation experiences, exceptional accommodation and the awe-inspiring landscapes of both reserves.

Read More

&Beyond Phinda was one of the first private game reserves in South Africa and the first in the province of KwaZulu-Natal to introduce lions in 1991, thereby extending the species’ historical range. 24 years later in 2015, the reserve collaborated with African Parks and the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) on the reintroduction of lions to Akagera National Park, enabling guests visiting the park to witness the lion once again roaming free in the wild of Rwanda. The translocated lionesses were fitted with satellite collars, allowing their movements to be tracked and their behaviour monitored. Akagera National Park has been transformed into a thriving Big Five wildlife destination under the management of African Parks in partnership with the Rwanda Development Board since 2010. With populations of lion and other wildlife species on the rise, and benefits flowing to local communities, the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem is being assured.

This journey allows guests to experience one of the three pillars of &Beyond’s 30 year impact model, Care of the Wildlife, which includes the preservation of endangered species through conservation (of the species and the land on which they exist), translocations and breeding programmes.

4 nights Phinda Private Game Reserve | 1 night Kigali | 4 nights Akagera National Park

*Includes a USD 5,000 group donation toward conservation for the Akagera Management Company

Are you ready?


This unforgettable journey is limited to 12 guests with a set departure date.
Please talk to us if you are interested in booking this journey on a tailormade basis.

A taste of what to expect

Phinda Private Game Reserve
5-6 October 2022
  • Stay at &Beyond Phinda Vlei Lodge, an intimate and romantic safari lodge, overlooking a unique vlei (wetland system) on the edge of &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve’s rare sand forest.
  • &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve showcases one of the continent’s finest Big Five game viewing experiences and consists of a magnificent tapestry of seven unique landscapes across an impressive 28,555 hectares (70,560 acres) of protected wildlife terrain. Guests at Phinda experience unforgettable interpretive game drives in open 4×4 safari vehicles, led by professionally trained &Beyond rangers and Zulu trackers, as well as a wide range of optional adventures in the bush and on the beach.
  • Engage with Phinda’s conservation team and gain insight and awareness into lions and the conservation challenges and threats they face as well as the process the team undertook to select and capture the lions that were translocated in 2015.
  • Enjoy twice-daily game drives traversing across seven distinct habitats, allowing for a great diversity of landscapes and exclusive game viewing. A limited number of vehicles at sightings and sensitive off-roading practices afford close-up sightings of Big Five wildlife.
  • &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is home to a magnificent variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, but is best known for its large population of cheetah and black rhino. The sand forest is home to the shy suni and the rare red duiker, two tiny antelope that are seldom encountered elsewhere.
Phinda Private Game Reserve
7-8 October 2022
  • Looking at the often-overlooked aspects of the natural world, unravelling its marvellous intricacies and simple truths, a Nature Walk allows one to experience Africa on foot, free from the constraints of roads and vehicles. As part of a game drive, or a few hours over the middle of the day, a nature walk is an opportunity to connect with the African bush and experience it on the same level as its animal inhabitants.
  • Experience the thrill of viewing animals on foot, as you engage all your senses to discover a world where each sound, scent and bent blade of grass has a meaning. Led by an expertly-trained ranger and tracker team, a Big Game Viewing Walk offers the chance to track and view certain Big Five animals on foot. Done in such a way that the animals never know that you are there, Big Game Viewing Walks ensure an undisturbed natural experience viewing these creatures in their natural habitat while ensuring safety, as they never feel threatened by your presence. 
  • Depending on which research activity is available at the time, you will have the opportunity to assist in a once-in-a-lifetime conservation activity such as an elephant or rhino conservation initiative or to monitor a pangolin.

The predators are back…


A groundbreaking collaboration helps restore a 15-year local extinction of lions in Rwanda…

9 October 2022
  • Kigali is the bustling capital city of Rwanda and home to its only international airport. Vibrant and colourful, the city spreads over scenic ridges and valleys, with the city centre located high on one hill and the government quarter on another.
  • The highest hill, Mount Kigali, sits 1,850 m (6,075 feet) above sea level. The city’s landmarks include the Genocide Memorial Center, the fruit market and lunch at the historical Hotel Mille Collines.
  • Relaxed yet elegant, the Kigali Serena Hotel is situated on a charming boulevard in the heart of Kigali. 
  • Choose from mouth-watering à la carte menus, themed dinners, scrumptious poolside lunches and a wide array of colourful cocktails served overlooking the pool and tranquil gardens. Guests can take a dip in the sparkling swimming pool or unwind with a soothing massage at the hotel’s health club. A full-equipped gym adds to guest delight.
Akagera National Park
10-12 October 2022
  • Akagera National Park comprises some of the most scenic savannah in East Africa – open plains, woodlands, lakes, swamps, and grassy low mountains – and is home to one of Africa’s highest hippo densities, large crocodiles, as well as the rare sitatunga antelope and almost 500 species of birds. Resulting from the initial reintroduction of the species thanks to the &Beyond Phinda, African Parks and RDB collaboration in 2015, Akagera also boasts a healthy population of lion. Black rhino were subsequently reintroduced to the park in 2017.
  • A wonderful conservation and community story thrives and continues to be built here with the reintroduction of wildlife, helping to re-establish an ecosystem previously decimated by encroachment and poaching that eliminated much of the wildlife. Today more and more animals are being reintroduced into the Park and communities are benefitting from socio-economic opportunities being generated by the park.
  • Stay at Ruzizi Tented Lodge, located on banks of Lake Ihema, in the south of the park, in comfortable tented rooms offering wonderful views of the shimmering lakefront from your private terrace.  
  • Join Drew Bantlin and his conservation team to track the lions and participate in their evening monitoring. Observe the monitoring process, the type of data collected, and understand how the data is incorporated in the Park’s conservation management plan.
Akagera National Park
12-14 October 2022
  • Spend your last 2 nights in Magashi Camp, located in the diverse north-eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga. The camp is situated on the only private concession area in Akagera and also harbours a good density of leopard
  • These days are your opportunity to enjoy the wildlife viewing resulting from over a decade of partnership between African Parks and RDB to secure and revitalise this conservation asset.
  • Hop in a swamp cruisers and glide around Lake Rwanyakazinga viewing water birds, aquatic animals and large pods of hippo.
  • Keep your binoculars handy as you search the skies for the over 500 magnificent bird species found here.
  • Go on game drives and explore savannah and wetland inhabited by lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, hippo and many more. 
  • Enjoy thrilling night drives searching for nocturnal wildlife that is not normally seen during the day such as leopard, hyena, civets and bush babies.
  • The next morning, wave a fond farewell as your journey with us comes to an end.

5-14 OCT 2022 | 9 Nights
From USD 11,950 per person


From USD 11,950




USD 3,300

What's included
  • Accommodation as specified in the itinerary
  • Meals, drinks and laundry as specified 
  • Scheduled flights as specified in the itinerary
  • Private transfers as specified in the itinerary
  • Private game viewing activities as specified in the itinerary
  • National parks, concession and landing fees where applicable
  • Emergency medical evacuation insurance
  • Domestic/international departure tax, fuel and safety levies from airports and airstrips unless otherwise stipulated
  • A contribution towards a group donation of USD 5,000 toward the Akagera Management Company
What's not included
  • Meals, drinks and laundry not specified in the itinerary or as outlined in the Includes 
  • Premium brand drinks, champagne, cognacs, cellar wines, cigars and cigarettes 
  • Gratuities and any items of a personal nature
  • Sightseeing and excursions not specified in the itinerary
  • Flights and transfers not specified in the itinerary
  • National parks and concession fees not specified in the itinerary 
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees (please be sure to check if visas are required)
  • Personal Travel Wallet
  • Any COVID-19 Testing
  • Any pre or post quarantine stays due to COVID-19
  • Flight quotes are subject to change, and we reserve the right to re-quote
  • The operator may reroute the itinerary or accommodate in similar lodges in case of non-availability
  • Validity periods are as specified above - should a booking fall over two rate periods the rate will change and we reserve the right to re-quote
  • The rates quoted are subject to change without prior warning if there are any increases in bed levies, park fees, fuel, ROE, sales tax or VAT, third-party services or any other circumstances beyond our control in the countries featured in this quote
  • andBeyond Trading Terms apply

Stay here on this journey


Phinda Private Game Reserve 4 nights

Kigali Serena Hotel

1 night

Ruzizi Tented Lodge

Akagera National Park
2 nights


Akagera National Park
2 nights

Limited edition experiences

Celebrate our 30 year anniversary with us

Channel your inner travel addict

You’re just 5 easy (and fun) steps away from creating your ideal Travel Dream Board.

Step 1: Select which part of the planet you wish to explore

Step 2: Clarify what kind of traveller you are

Step 3: Tick off those grand bucket list experiences that will fire your imagination

Step 4: Log in to create and add to your Dream Board

Step 5: Share & start dreaming


Leaving our world a better place for years

Discover the impact legacy that your travel with &BEYOND is driving. Just as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have been a touchstone for our Vision 2020 group-operation sustainability audits, so they continue to guide and underpin our ambitiously scaled Vision 2030 goals.