Thanda Safari, a Big Five game reserve situated on 14 000 hectares in the heart of Zululand, KwaZulu- Natal where the Great Rift Valley meets the Lebombo Mountains, offers an authentic South African wildlife experience with excellent game viewing all year round. It is the perfect place for holidaymakers and families to experience and discover the Big Five -where your senses will awaken during up-close encounters with these magnificent animals and all the bush inhabitants. The guides and trackers are experts of the African bush and share their tracking skills, knowledge and culture.  This 5-star safari property is situated on what was one of the first proclaimed game reserves in Africa in 1895 by the then British Colonial Government of Natal, and what was once the ancient hunting grounds of Zulu Kings. The property, proudly has one of the smallest hospitality footprints especially when considering its size of 14,000 ha, variety of wildlife (with all of Africa’s Big Five) and more than 400 different bird species. 

The flagship Safari Lodge is home to nine suites, each with panoramic views of the surrounding game reserve, spacious lounge, majestic master bedroom, double-sided fireplace and an indulgent bathroom, with a beautiful bath, and an indoor and outdoor shower. The Lodge’s shared areas are sumptuously African, including an inviting lounge, expansive deck and library overlooking a waterhole, private business area, cigar bar, impressive wine cellar and the Thanda Safari Spa.

Dining is an affair at Thanda, with menus, creatively conceived by the chefs. From slow-cooked potjiekos to tender game cuts flavoured with homegrown herbs, the chefs produce perfection for the palate and cater for all dietary requirements. Every meal offers unique dishes and tastes, combined with carefully chosen wines and impeccable service. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners and high teas personify the Thanda Safari style.

The ultimate safari hideaway for guests needing total privacy or for families, friends and meetings is the five suites Villa iZulu – voted World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa at the World Travel Awards. This magnificent Afro-chic homestead, created for Thanda Safari’s owners, Christin and Dan Olofsson includes a heated swimming pool, a traditional boma and bonfire area, wine cellar, library, private business area, games room and a vast viewing deck overlooking a waterhole. It’s. Villa iZulu has its own helicopter pad and separate accommodation for child-minders and VIP security officers. 

The Thanda Tented Camp with 15 colonial safari-style tents, each with its own viewing deck and en-suite bathrooms is open for special events and exclusive use only, reserved for  Thanda Safari Starlight Productions (TSSP). With a great emphasis put on conservation and community upliftment  and a sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and conservation of the environment, Thanda Safari’s ethos is based on people, wildlife and the environment coming together and partnering in socio-economic upliftment, job creation, education and skills development in the region.

Thanda Safari is actively involved in conservation and wildlife research, it works to uplift the local communities through ‘Star for Life’ and other projects. 2021 heralds Thanda fulfilling its long-term vision of launching The Royal Thanda Club (incorporating the Thanda Royal Residences project). This will offer unapparelled lifestyle opportunities and experiences and will give members the opportunity to give back in the fields of nature conservation and children’s education. 

Mark your diaries for the next events which include The RUN WILD Weekend (Friday 16 to Sunday 18 July 2021) -walkers, joggers, runners and their friends and families get to experience the vast open spaces, the magnificent terrain and the wildlife of Thanda Safari…on foot!  With the safety of guests being of the utmost importance this exciting and exhilarating experience will be under the supervision and watchful eye of Thanda’s Anti-Poaching unit.

On Friday 25 to Sunday 27 June 2021,Thanda Safari is pleased to welcome James Rawdon back for a third Bird Ringing Weekend 

Rawdon, who originally studied biology and worked for many years in the South African and Botswana bush has always been involved in nature and conservation and had a keen interest in birds.He has been ringing birds (and sharing his passion for birds) at various sites in and around KwaZulu-Natal ever since.  

Weekends start  from R2 995 per person sharing and include:  accommodation, game drives, meals, selected local beverages and more

Thanda Safari is also a favourite of Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco, a recent visit, saw the Princess  involved in various conservation operations such as rhino monitoring and tracking, deployment with the Anti-Poaching Unit, educational wildlife photography sessions, and a White Rhino dart and dehorning exercise.

Dining on safari at Thanda is

Meaning ‘love’ in isiZulu, Thanda is a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World, a multiple winner of The World’s Travel Awards: Leading Luxury Lodge/Private Villa awards; the 2020 World Travel Awards: World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa; World’s and South Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge, and the 2020 Condé Nast Traveller: ranked as one of the 20 Top Resorts in South Africa.

Thanda Safari ensures life-changing safari experiences  with guided walks and a range of Zulu cultural and community experiences in the neighbouring villages too.

Thanda Safari is situated 23km north of Hluhluwe on the N2 approximately 220km north of Durban and is easily accessible from the N2 by gravel road (no 4×4 required). Richards Bay is the closest commercial airport, with King Shaka International Airport, Durban being the closest international airport. Road transfers are available from and to Durban and Richards Bay Airports.

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