Winner of the 2009 World Travel Awards in World’s Leading Luxury Lodge category, Thanda Private Game Reserve is situated 23km north of Hluhluwe in northern Zululand, South Africa, and is set on a 14,000 hectare Big Five private game reserve. The five-star facilities include a main lodge, tented camp and award-winning wellness centre.
Thanda, meaning ‘love’ in Zulu, unites romantic decadence and exclusivity with Zulu culture and wildlife. The nine luxury bush villas at the main lodge have private infinity pools, viewing decks, private salas (thatched outdoor day bed areas), lounges, fireplaces and full bathrooms with both inside and outside showers. The individual bomas at each villa offer guests absolute dining privacy should that be their choice. The public facilities at the main lodge include a lounge, library, dining room, boma, dining deck, wine cellar, cigar bar, fully equipped business centre and viewing decks overlooking tranquil water features. Artefacts made by local artists decorate the public areas in honour of the Zulu culture and craftsmanship.
The non-electrified tented camp is built in colonial safari style, offering an authentic yet luxurious bush experience. Fifteen luxury tents have viewing decks and en-suite canvas bathrooms, with the romantic honeymoon one featuring a private jacuzzi deck. Public facilities at the tented camp include a dining tent, a boma area, and a sala consisting of an ‘open-air’ lounge and a splash pool.
Thanda’s wellness centre, winner of the Safari Spa category in the 2006 Les Nouvelles Esthetiques spa awards, offers exclusive treatments such as reflexology, aromatherapy, pressure point scalp massage and hot stone massage using African essential oils in a base of shea butter. Unique features include hot & cold outdoor kniepp therapy pools, a reflexology pool, outdoor sala treatment area, and a steam room & hydrotherapy bath, all with a unique Zulu feel and designed exclusively for Thanda. The Thanda Signature Treatments draw inspiration from the Zulu culture and are designed to be indulgent to both the body and soul.
Safaris in open game viewing vehicles are conducted exclusively for Thanda guests on the virtually malaria-free 14,000 hectare reserve. Thanda has introduced a breeding pack of wild dog onto the Big Five property – the first time this has happened on private land in KwaZulu-Natal. The pack is thriving with pups being born.
Vula Zulu, a traditional homestead adjacent to Thanda is a showcase of traditional Zulu warriors performing age-old dancing rites, as was done prior to and after battle. Thanda is contributing to the sustainment of the Zulu culture, through job creation as well as maintaining an ongoing interest in the Zulu heritage.
Thanda is an ideal 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 dive with sharks, snorkel above coral reefs, ride horses on the beach or just enjoy the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Air access to Thanda is facilitated by Thanda Air which operates between Johannesburg and Mkhuze, 15 minutes away from Thanda. Road transfers are available from Durban and Richards Bay, and self-drive clients are able to leave their vehicles at the main gate.