My Thanda Safari article is in the new SA and Beyond printed magazine and online page 12-16, or below for your ease of reading.
Thanda Safari, a place of wilderness and wildlife.
Time in the bush offers a welcome reprieve from everyday life, a reconnect with nature and an opportunity to be reminded of the fragile cycle of nature, and the conservation teams set in place to protect it. Which meant that an invitation to spend a few nights at Thanda Safari in Kwa Zulu Natal was hastily accepted.
Offering richly rewarding game drives, sundowners overlooking the valleys and hills, bush walks and tracking on foot – the 14,000-hectare wilderness reserve is home to a range of animals, including cheetahs, hyenas, giraffe, warthog and abundant bird and plant life. Together with a strong community and conservation commitment, Thanda is steeped in Zulu history with the Mduna Royal Reserve, part-owned by the Zulu King, being part of the greater Thanda Private Game Reserve, linking conservation, history and Zulu culture.
Thanda Safari Accommodation
Thanda Safari Lodge offers 9 suites circular in structure and reminiscent of a traditional Zulu Rondavel homestead, each with their own spacious lounge area and master bedroom with double-sided fireplace, bathroom complete with an oval-shaped bath and indoor and outdoor showers. They also feature an elevated sala outdoor deck, a heated plunge pool and private boma for an intimate dining experience. Here you’ll find the Thanda Spa with its two treatment rooms and range of world-class treatments.
Meaning ‘love’ in isiZulu, Thanda Safari offers three different styles of accommodation.
For a luxurious safari villa experience, Villa iZulu, the private bush home of the owners is available on an exclusive-use basis. Sleeping up to 10 in 5 suites, it comprises a library, wine cellar, playroom, heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, an outdoor boma and has its own helicopter pad. Fully serviced and with dedicated staff, this magnificent villa is set within a beautiful, fully fenced garden ideal for younger guests to play safely.
Striking a balance between old and new, I stayed at Thanda Tented Camp with its romantic ambience reminiscent of a bygone era. Lit by paraffin lanterns, all 15 Hemingway-styled canvas tents have wooden decks, whilst the Jabula Tent features a separate lounge, splash pool and its own boma. The camp has a large rim-flow pool, a waterhole sala from where to watch the animals come in to drink and a boma for dining under the African stars.
Game Viewing within the Reserve
Early morning and late afternoon game drives and bush walks are offered as you seek out the reserve’s resident wildlife. During my stay, my guide Buselaphi with tracker Wyneth pointed out giraffe, nyala, zebra, wildebeest, warthog, lion and elephant. On the bird front there were African hoopoe, glossy starling, hornbill, woolly necked stalks, brown snake eagle and European rollers, to name but a few.
We spoke of tree species, the diverse varieties of grass and the use of rubbing posts by rhino and elephants, as well as the essential anti-poaching efforts required to protect the more vulnerable species. At Thanda, all rhino is dehorned as an added precaution.
On the one game drive, we spent time with a big-maned male lion who’s roar reverberated across the reserve. There’s not much that resonates more with the bush for me, than the sound of a lion’s roar. It comes from the core and once released, echoes through the plains. The intensity vibrating deep into the mind, and soul.
Unique to Thanda Safari is their day ‘In the Path of Wildlife’ program that allows guests to get involved with game counts, fence checking and even assisting with necessary veterinary procedures. Those who wish to delve further into the Zulu culture will be invited by their guide to see his village, spend time with a Sangoma or join the school children at a ‘Star for Life’ school.
Owned by Swedish philanthropists Christin and Dan Olofsson who obtained the land 17 years ago taking two years to return it to the wilderness before opening, Thanda Safari has grown to employ over 200 staff members, while reintroducing to the area all the wildlife that once naturally occurred here.
While I was there, Wildlife Coordinator Mariana Venter, who oversees game management on the property had recently had an influx of funds put to good use increasing the number of plains game in the reserve and introducing some young cheetah to the land. I was lucky enough to be there as the one female cheetah was released into the reserve after her mandatory stay acclimatising in the boma, taking her first tentative steps into her new home. Today months later she thrives in her adopted environment.
Thanda Safari offers considered accommodation and warm hospitality, an authentic wildlife experience with excellent game viewing and a sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and conservation of the environment.
Here the creatures own the earth and lucky for us, we’re free to visit them anytime we choose.
Wildlife Coordinator Mariana Venter, who oversees game management on the property.
The Essential Details
Contact Details: Connect with Thanda Safari for rates and additional information at firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +27 (0) 32 586 0149 | www.thandasafari.co.za Location: Thanda Safari is situated 23km north of Hluhluwe on the N2 approximately 220km north of Durban and is easily accessible from the N2 by a gravel road. Richards Bay is the closest commercial airport, with King Shaka International Airport, Durban being the closest international airport. Road transfers can be arranged on request. In addition: Be sure to check packages and special offers. SADC country residents enjoy year-round reduced rates. Thanda is five-star accredited and a Leading Hotels of the World member. Children are welcome.
Our most charming and knowledge guide Buselaphi.
*** Read my other published articles here. Property pics supplied, rest by me.
*** I travelled with Theresa Gibbon of email@example.com on a most spectacular media trip.