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South Africa Safari

Thanda Private Game Reserve

Northern Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Thanda Private Game Reserve
Return to Map of KwaZulu-Natal Reserves          © Thanda Private Game Reserve

View images of Thanda: Thanda Images

THANDA GAME RESERVE RATES: Thanda Game Reserve Rates

Reawaken romance in one of the luxury bush villas, or embrace nature at the colonial safari-style tented camp. Encounter the abundance of African game including lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo and leopard found at Thanda. Let your tension be smoothed away at one of South Africa's most exquisite African bush spas, or feel the rush of adrenalin diving with sharks at the nearby warm Indian Ocean waters. Be transfixed in awe as you witness a hundred-year-old ritual performed by Zulu warriors, offering you a glimpse of a powerful nation that still retains its deep traditions.

Situated 23km north of Hluhluwe in northern Zululand in South Africa, Thanda Private Game Reserve is a celebration of the Zulu people and their rich culture. Thanda, meaning 'love' in Zulu, is an expression of the magical union of powerful Zulu culture, wildlife, romantic decadence and exclusivity.

It´s the magic of romance and Zulu culture that makes Thanda unforgettable.

• The Wellness Centre at the prestigious Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal was voted as the winner in the Safari Spa category in the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Awards 2006, June 2006
• Thanda Private Game Reserve in Zululand has been selected as the first and only game reserve in the world to achieve ‘Leading Hotels of the World’ status and joins the elite membership that is reserved for only 400 of the world’s finest properties, September 2005
• The 5-star Thanda Private Game Reserve's Wellness Centre was chosen as a top 5 finalist in the category of Resort Spa by Les Nouvelles Esthetique during their inaugural South African 2005 Sanitas Per Aquas Spa Awards, July 2005

Accommodation            For images of Thanda, click Thanda Images
Main Lodge
The nine luxury bush villas at the main lodge offer a level of opulence that is hard to surpass.

Measuring 220 square meters in size, each villas has its own private heated splash pool, viewing deck and boma, ideal for intimate open-air private dinners. The outdoor salas are impossible to resist for an afternoon siesta on feather-filled cushions amid extraordinary views of the surrounding unfenced bush. Each villa has a fireplace interleading between the bedroom and the lounge. Luxurious bathrooms have enormous egg-shaped baths and indoor as well as outdoor showers.

Should the urge arise to venture out of your private retreat, Thanda's public areas include a lounge, library, fully equipped business centre, a finely stocked wine cellar, cigar bar and several dining venues where deliciously mouth-watering meals are served.  There are also viewing and dining decks overlooking tranquil water features.  The curio shop stocks atefacts made by local artists.

Tented Camp
The non-electrified tented camp is built in a colonial safari style, suited for guests in search of an authentic, yet luxurious bush experience. Situated on the slope of a hill, the tents have spectacular views of the reserve and offer guests an authentic bush experience.  With no compromise on luxury or service, the Tented Camp offers guests an opportunity to get closer to nature in style.

The four beautifully furnished tents have four-poster beds, en-suite canvas bathrooms with a shower, and magnificent views of the game reserve.

Public facilities include an intimate dining tent and boma, a very stylish outdoor lounge and a plunge pool for cool relief on hot summer days. Guests can opt to have their meals in the dining tent or around the boma fire.  The lounge in the sala is ideal for relaxing and the splash pool is welcoming during the warm days of summer.

Guests staying at the Tented Camp may make use of the facilities at the Main Lodge and at the Wellness Centre.

Wellness Centre
Thanda Private Game Reserve has created a world-class spa facility with exclusive treatments which consist of reflexology, aromatherapy, hot stone massage using African essential oils in a base of shea butter, pressure point scalp massage, manicures, pedicures, hot & cold outdoor kniepp therapy pools, a reflexology pool, outdoor sala treatment area, steam room & hydrotherapy bath all with a unique Zulu feel and designed exclusively for Thanda.

Guests can pamper, indulge and rejuvenate mind, body and soul whilst being inspired by the vast expanse of African bush. The Thanda Signature Treatments draw inspiration from the Zulu culture and are designed to be indulgent to both the body and soul, allowing the African spirit to enchant each and every guest.

The wellness centre was voted as the winner in the Safari Spa category in the Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Awards 2006, and it was a finalist in the category Resort Spa in 2005.

Communication: Each villa has a telephone and there is a good Internet connection at the main lodge. There is no Internet facility at the tented camp, nor are there telephones as the tented camp is not electrified. There is reception for mobile phones in many parts of the reserve, but mountains obstruct the signal in certain areas.

Culinary masterpieces skilfully prepared by the dedicated and professional chefs can be experienced in a variety of venues at Thanda. The public facilities of the main lodge include a fire-lit dining room, outdoor dining decks and an outdoor 'boma' (open reed enclosure). Private dining is available at the bush villas, where meals can be served in the private bomas or the private decks of each villa, under sparkling skies on clear nights.

Bush breakfasts, lunches or dinners are also available for special occasions. Dining facilities at the tented camp include an intimate dining tent and a boma. A superbly stocked wine cellar and cigar bar are available at the main lodge.

Thanda, meaning 'love' in Zulu, embraces the philosophy of 'For the love of nature, wildlife and dear ones'.

Thanda is the perfect setting to rediscover romance, with romantic turndowns, candlelights, bush dinners lit by paraffin lamps whilst your ranger keeps a watchful eye for any wildlife, private splash pools, your own sala where you can sleep under the stars during the night listening to a lion roaring or take a nap after lunch whilst impalas graze below you, private bomas for romantic dinners with your own fireplace, relaxing massages at the wellness centre, excellent wines, foam baths with candlelights and champagne and outdoor showers that can be used in the magical African night.

Thanda is an exquisite venue for a honeymoon or a bush wedding. All co-ordination requirements will be taken care of by the lodge, from the legal documents to arranging an ordained minister, ensuring that the most special day of your life is totally unforgettable and stress-free. Thanda can accommodate a maximum of 26 guests, however the lodge is able to cater for more guests for the wedding ceremony and reception, and would assist in finding additional accommodation nearby if required.

Free your adventurous spirit with the thrill of Big Five game viewing, the exhilaration of diving with dolphins, or the wonder of whale watching from sun-drenched beaches. Or perhaps you would prefer to restore your soul with a leisurely cruise through tropical estuaries followed by a refreshingly cool swim in your private splash pool.

An abundance of activities awaits guests who would like to enjoy all that the area has to offer. The Elephant Coast, as this part of KwaZulu-Natal is now called, has 21 different ecosystems and is home to a rich variety of fauna and flora. Sand forests, lakes, lagoons, wetlands and pristine stretches of beaches are home to many animals such as hippos, crocodiles, giant turtles and over 460 bird species.

Thanda is a unique beach and bush destination, with Sodwana Bay located merely an hour away. A day at the beach can be arranged where guests have the possibility to sport fish, dive with sharks, snorkel above coral reefs, ride horses on the beach or just enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

Thanda Private Game Reserve aims to restore nature's balance by reintroducing species endemic to the area, as well as the Big Five. The rehabilitated land has encouraged the birds and wildlife to flourish, and has assisted in the re-establishment of the natural ecosystem. Game drives in the open game viewing vehicles and bush walks guided by knowledgeable and experienced game rangers and trackers afford guests a better understanding and appreciation of our wild heritage.

The private game reserve is part of an ongoing game rehabilitation programme that will ensure the long-term sustainment of wildlife. It is the first privately owned game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal to introduce a breeding pack of wild dog, complementing the Big Five experience.

Private game drives are also available on request.

Surrounding Areas
Why settle for the Big Five when you can have the Big Seven? Once you've had your fill of game viewing, you can opt to join one of the many outside activities that Thanda offers. Spot whales and dolphins on a deep-sea boat trip between June and November along the eastern shores of KwaZulu-Natal, or dive with sharks in Sodwana's warm waters. The Greater St. Lucia Wetlands is South Africa's first declared world heritage site, and a boat cruise on the estuary will enable you to encounter some of the 1500 species of fauna found here.

Other activities arranged by Thanda include fresh-water and deep-sea fishing, horse riding on the beach or at a nearby non-Big Five game reserve, swimming and walking along the pristine beaches at the Indian ocean and having your own beach barbeque, snorkeling, birding safaris, microlight flights, midnight turtle tours to Mbibi, kayak and canoe safaris and visits to a traditional village and school. There are also five golf courses in the surrounding areas for golf enthusiasts.

Star Gazing
For those guests who would like to learn more about our solar system, our game rangers are knowledgeable in this field, and star gazing can be enjoyed during evening game drives.

Bush Breakfast
A fantastic way to end an exciting morning game drive is with a deliciously prepared bush breakfast, served in a secluded spot in the heart of the bush - but rangers will keep an eye out for the wilder inhabitants of Thanda!

Bush Dinner
Guests can get close to nature and enjoy a decadent African bush dinner lit by paraffin lamps and candlelight - perfect for a romantic surprise, or a special occasion.

Bush Walk
The game rangers, field guides and trackers have a vast knowledge not only of the fauna, but the flora too. During bush walks, guests can have the opportunity to learn about all the fascinating uses of the plants in the area, and to identify spoor. On request, guests can track animals with specially trained rangers.

Night Walk
This is ideally done when the full moon provides enough light to walk without the assistance of torches or lamps. This is a very special experience, and highly recommended for those who are more adventurous at heart.

Game Drive
The best time for game drives is first thing in the morning, and early evening as animals tend to be more active at these times of the day. Game drives are conducted in the latest Land Rovers, with a maximum of 6 guests per vehicle. We will try and give families their own vehicle depending on availability.

Wildlife Lectures / Junior Ranger Programme
Guests interested in specific topics related to wildlife and conservation will enjoy the wildlife lectures given by the senior rangers and field guides. Thanda's younger guests can participate in the Junior Ranger Programme, a wonderful introduction to the bush.

Zulu Culture
The focus point of Thanda Private Game Reserve is to fully embrace the Zulu culture by including elements of it throughout all aspects of the lodge. From the décor to the cuisine, guests will truly learn to appreciate the rich and still very much alive traditions of the Zulu people.

Vula Zulu, a traditional homestead is the setting for guests to have the privilege of watching 50 to 100 Impi warriors trained by an associate of a Zulu prince, performing age-old dancing rites, as was done prior to and after battle.

A guided tour to a nearby Zulu tribal village will offer guests an insight into the daily life of the community. Visit local historical sites and battlegrounds, or witness young children's enthusiasm and ambition during a visit to a local school. Thanda's rangers will embrace the close connections and traditions between nature and the Zulu people, and in the library at the main lodge, you can read about the many fascinating aspects of the Zulu nation, from culture and history to myths and legends. Even the Zulu songs will stay with you long after your visit to Thanda!

In this way, Thanda is contributing to the sustainment the sustainment of the Zulu culture, through job creation as well as maintaining an ongoing interest in the Zulu heritage, and offering guests a unique opportunity to experience all aspects of this incredibly interesting culture, not found at any other lodge.

Vula Zulu Cultural Experience
Vula Zulu Cultural Experience is a traditional homestead showcasing Zulu culture and history, situated adjacent to Thanda. With the advice and assistance of experts specialising in Zulu culture, the homestead has been purpose-built as a museum for visitors to get an insight into the way of life of the Zulu people in days gone by. Guests can taste traditional Zulu beer, observe spear combat methods, and watch as women weave baskets using local Ilala palms and create intricate bead accessories.

The highlight of Vula Zulu is the immensely powerful traditional Impi dancing, where warriors perform age-old dancing rites as was done pre- and post-battle with King Shaka Zulu. Facilities at Vula Zulu include a restaurant, a craft centre and a curio shop stocked with artefacts made by local craftsmen.

The climate at Thanda Private Game Reserve is tropical throughout the year. Average daily temperatures are between 20-30ºC.

As Thanda is situated close to the Indian Ocean, compared to Mpumalanga (Kruger Park) the summers (December to February) are not as hot, and the winters (June to August) not as cold. Below is a temperature chart with average daily temperatures, which means that top temperatures during the day are somewhat higher and minimum temperatures during the night are somewhat lower.


Return to
Map of KwaZulu-Natal Reserves          Return to Map of KwaZulu-Natal Province

For tourist information and activities in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, click More KwaZulu-Natal
For further information about South Africa, click More South Africa

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