The Shamwari Group of properties in Africa is now operating as a standalone entity after splitting from the Mantis Collection.

The Shamwari Group includes six wildlife reserves and 12 lodges in South Africa and Rwanda.

Tom Jager, group marketing and sales manager, said: “We can now focus on the unique opportunities we can offer within the group, including our Kids on Safari family programme and our conservation work.”

Shamwari works with a range of UK operators, and has recently started working with Virgin Holidays. It works particularly closely with South Africa specialist Ecco Tours, with which it runs educational events for UK agents.

Jager said UK visitor numbers were about 15 to 20% down on average this year, which put the Shamwari Group ahead of South Africa as a whole, which he said was about 30% down.

And he said forward bookings for 2012 suggested there may be an improvement next year.

“We have taken the lead on bringing our prices down and we believe we have our pricing right. The cost of flights makes long-haul a harder sell at the moment, but we are working closely with our operator partners to get the message across,” he said.