Thanda Safari South Africa
P450 Bayala, Hluhluwe, 3915, KwaZulu Natal,
Date of Creation
Hotel General Manager
Truman Ndlovu is the Assistant General Manager of Thanda Safari and brings a wealth of experience to the team having been with Thanda Safari since 2004. Truman’s primary focus areas are Security and Wildlife, although he was previously the Head Guide.
5-star Luxury, The Leading Hotels of the World
History & Story
Thanda, with its beautiful accommodation, world-class service and sanctuary for wildlife, strongly contrasts with the existential challenges of the rural Zulu communities living nearby. From the beginning of Thanda there has been a commitment and significant investment by the owners, Christin and Dan Olofsson to create jobs and uplift the neighbouring communities in parallel with the development of the reserve.
Thanda has created employment on the reserve in all aspects of its business : from field guiding to hospitality to animal and reserve management, alien plant eradication and numerous wildlife conservation programmes, including intensive Rhino anti-poaching strategies. All staff members are offered career advancement as well as educational and training opportunities. Many of the staff members have risen from junior posts to senior management over the past few years.
Thanda’s mission is to serve as a responsible custodian of the environment combining biodiversity conservation with strong relationships with other wildlife conservation organisations, community support initiatives and upliftment programmes. Thanda favours community-based, natural resource management which aligns conservation objectives with economic benefits for rural communities. For Thanda, ecological commitment is about people coming together to look after the land, water, animals and plants, and to sustainably use these resources to the benefit of communities and future generations.
Thanda Safari is extremely proud to be able to say that while it offers a premier 5-star safari experience, it is far more than this. Everything that Thanda does is underpinned by a sincere and far-reaching commitment to the social upliftment of the Zululand region and its people, through employment and the preservation of the Zulu culture.
The lodge is currently undergoing another upgrading – it last underwent a soft upgrade over the course of 2017/18.
Main Strengths, Special Touch
• Entrenched in Zulu Culture
• Exceptional wildlife experiences
• Committed to Wildlife Conservation
• Committed to community upliftment
• Exclusive experience of the African bush
• Exceptional service and warm Zulu hospitality
• Resident Wildlife Photographer
• Bush Wedding Destination
Thanda Safari, situated in the heart of Zululand in the northern part of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa with green hills, waving grasslands and abundant wildlife, offers an authentic African experience like no other.
Key sites/activities in the area
• Game Drives / Safari
• Bush Walks
• Community Tours
• Rhino and Cheetah tracking
• Rhino de-horning
• Photographic Safaris
• Cell phone & camera onsite photographic lessons
• Working with Wildlife team
• Thanda means love in isiZulu
• Thanda offers romantic Zulu blessings under the Marula tree (a sacred tree of the Zulus)
• Thanda makes its own honey
• The wider Thanda Safari reserve includes ‘Ipiva’, the game reserve of the Zulu King which Thanda manages in return for exclusive traversing rights
• Thanda was officially opened by the reigning King of the Zulu nation, King Zwelithini Goodwill kaBhekuzulu in 2004
Witnessing your kids experiencing and discovering the Big Five and all the other creatures in the bush for the first time is an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime feeling. To add to this, Thanda offers something special just for kids – the Bucks & Bugs Club – where your children have the time of their lives, while you enjoy time out in the bush or relaxing at your lodge, camp or spa.
While staying with us, your kids can join our Junior Rangers Course and spend time with one of our guides, learning the ways of the wild – they’ll learn about game tracking, game spotting, spoor identification as well as bird and plant life. At the end of their stay, they will receive a Junior Ranger Certificate.
Thanda’s nannies are all wonderful mothers themselves. While you are out on a game drive or taking time out, they will take care of your children (all ages) and treat them as part of the Thanda family.
Number of rooms, (keys) in all: 25 Keys in total
Thanda Safari Lodge – nine Bush Suites
Thanda Safari Lodge is known for its nine beautiful bush suites – each self-contained for absolute privacy. Shaped like a traditional Zulu homestead, the 220m² suites have panoramic views of the surrounding game reserve. Each suite is a tribute to abundance, Africa-style – with a spacious lounge and majestic master bedroom and double-sided fireplace. The bathroom has a vanity, his-and-her basins, egg-shaped bath, enclosed toilet as well as indoor and outdoor showers. Use your suite as a secret hideaway for relaxation, romance or reflection, or as the base from which you head out to enjoy one of our many magnificent experiences. Thanda Safari Lodge’s public areas are colourful and drenched in light, with touches of beading, welcoming leather and authentic wood. They include an inviting library overlooking a waterhole that is favoured by elephant and other game, a private business area, a cigar bar, an impressively stocked wine cellar and a spa. There’s also the lounge: our guests’ starting point for the steaming coffee and biscuits and delectable high tea that herald every game drive. Featuring African art, huge windows, fascinating books on African legends, plush sofas and dark wooden accents – brightened by rich hues – our lounge epitomises African hospitality.
Thanda Tented Camp – fifteen Luxury Safari Tents
Within Thanda Tented Camp you will encounter minimal lighting and no artifice, with beautiful nature and jaw-dropping scenery enhanced by flickering firelight from the boma and warm paraffin lanterns to guide your feet along the walkway. This is the bush as nature intended: open, inviting, unconstrained. So, if you’re the kind of traveller who values the genuine over the glorified; reality over richness, this is where you want to be. You will encounter unparalleled closeness to the bush and its sounds; unspoilt views of the night’s millions of stars; and absolute authenticity. Thanda Tented Camp offers a relaxed and real safari experience. It comprises 14 spacious tents, each with a private sun deck and en-suite canvas bathroom. In addition, the 15th tent, the Jabula (Happiness) Tent is particularly suited to bridal couples, honeymooners, families and those seeking extra beautiful accommodation for special occasions. To deter wild animals, there is a partial electrified fence along the perimeter of Thanda Tented Camp. The shared areas include a Hemingway-style lounge area, a dining area featuring authentic African curios, a large rim-flow pool surrounded by loungers and umbrellas, an African boma and viewing deck overlooking a waterhole.
Villa iZulu – five Suites (exclusive use only)
This magnificent homestead is an outstanding safari hideaway for international celebrities, families, wedding parties and holidaymakers in need of privacy. Situated amidst lush green lawns and surrounded by expanses of wild African bush, Villa iZulu can accommodate 10 guests in five suites – each with its own private viewing deck and luxurious bathroom. The master bedroom features an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the Villa’s private waterhole. The shared main areas include a magnificent Afro-chic inspired dining room and spacious lounge, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a traditional Villa boma and bonfire area, verandas and terraces, many beautiful entertainment areas, including a games room, a private business area, a heated swimming pool (with kiddie pool), a wine cellar and a vast viewing deck overlooking the waterhole. The Villa also features separate accommodation for childminders and/or VIP security officers, as well as a private helicopter landing pad. Designed and created for Swedish investors and philanthropists Christin and Dan Olofsson, Villa iZulu was once one of the best-kept secrets in Africa but is now available for the exclusive use of selective groups of travellers.
Restaurants & Bars
Thanda’s offering is all-inclusive. The reserve features various dining venues, from our public dining areas, our traditional African bomas, our beautiful bush dinner site to the deck of your suite. Guests are guaranteed the most special of dining experiences – unique Thanda dishes and tastes, carefully chosen wines and impeccable service – under the African stars. Reflecting the diversity of the South African people, the menus conceived by Thanda’s team of chefs include a variety of dishes – from slow-cooked potjiekos to tender game cuts flavoured with homegrown herbs which will delight the most discerning of palates.
In our two beautifully appointed, restful spas at Thanda Safari our therapists offer a wide range of treatments, including a combination of western techniques and ancient Zulu holistic practices – learnt from traditional Zulu women. Our therapists use beautiful, non-allergenic products and are expertly trained. In their care, you’ll relinquish all responsibility for a while, and emerge refreshed, radiant and revitalised.
Corporate & Celebration Events
At Thanda we can host weddings for up to 80 people. We also welcome incentive groups and team building events.
Extra Notable Features
Thanda has its own Wedding Planner, who will plan the most magical and unique wedding for you.
Hotel and restaurant Awards
• Condé Nast Traveller 2020: Ranked as one of the 20 Top Resorts in South Africa
• World Travel Awards 2020: World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa; World’s and South Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge
• World Travel Awards 2019: World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa; Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge and Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa
• World Travel Awards: World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa; South Africa’s and Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa
• World Travel Awards 2017: World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa; South Africa’s and Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa
• World Travel Awards: South Africa’s Leading Safari Lodge and South Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa
• The Leading Hotels of the World’s Membership Awards: Winner of the Remarkably Uncommon Award 2016
• TripAdvisor: Certificate of Excellence 2016
• World Spa Awards: Africa’s and South Africa’s Best Safari Spa 2016
Number of employees
All staff members – most sourced from the surrounding communities and trained onsite – are offered career advancement as well as educational and training opportunities.
Many of the staff members have risen from junior posts to senior management over the past few years.