Thanda Private Game Reserve

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Thanda Private Game Reserve

Thanda Private Game Reserve is a 5-star - and 'big 5' - game reserve that occupies a 35,000 acre slice of land in wild, beautiful Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal.

Thanda Private Game Reserve encompasses a 35,000 acre slice of land in wild, beautiful Zululand. It is one of South Africa’s newest and most impressive private reserves, and also doubles as a cultural centre for those wanting to learn more about the indigenous Zulu culture.

Like most of South Africa’s private game reserves, Thanda occupies land that was until recently farmland. Great effort has gone into restoring the land to something resembling its original wild state, however, and today the reserve, which opened not much more than a decade ago in 2004, is home to all of the big 5, as well as a variety of plains game and 400+ bird species. Of course, Thanda doesn’t offer a game-viewing experience to rival South Africa’s great National Parks, such as the Kruger, but in terms of diversity and quantity of game it is one of South Africa’s most impressive private reserves. The guiding is great, and you have a good chance of spotting endangered creatures such as rhino.

Like most of South Africa’s game reserves, Thanda pitches itself as a luxury getaway as much as a pure wilderness experience. In this respect it shines. The reserve is home to only three accommodations, all of which house only a small number of guests, giving Thanda a very exclusive feel. The bush lodge and private villas are furnished to very high standards, earning Thanda numerous awards, including the World’s Leading Luxury Lodge (2011). Add to this Thanda’s proximity to the beach, and you have a wonderful option for those wanting a safari holiday that combines luxury relaxation with top game-viewing.


Thanda’s main accommodation, Thanda Safari Lodge, offers nine very stylish bush chalets. These are large units, with spacious bedrooms, cosy lounges (with fireplace), open-air salas overlooking the surrounding bush, and private plunge pools (heated). The lavish bathrooms feature freestanding bathtubs and both indoor and outdoor showers. The rooms are beautifully furnished throughout.

For those looking for a more traditional safari experience, Thanda also offers a tented camp. This is modelled on a classic 1930s East African bush camp, though it’s furnished to luxury standards. It offers fifteen tents, including one honeymoon tent with a private pool. The tents are all elaborately furnished, with large four-posted beds, private verandahs and en-suite bathrooms. The guest areas include a cosy boma, dining tent, outdoor lounge and small pool.

Finally, there’s Villa Izulu, a lavishly furnished little hideaway that is booked on an exclusive basis. It accommodates up to ten guests.


At the main lodge, delicious multi-course meals are served in the fire-lit dining room, around the campfire in the boma or on the outdoor dining decks. Private dining on the deck of your villa is also offered. Bush breakfasts, lunches or dinners can also be arranged.

Villa Izulu comes with a private kitchen and personal chef.

Facilities (depending on chosen accommodation)

- Infinity pool deck
- Curio shop
- Lounge
- Several dining areas and bars
- Wine cellar
- Spa & wellness centre (at Thanda Safari Lodge, but accessible to those staying at Villa Izulu)


- Game drives
- Zulu cultural programme
- Guided walks
- Bird watching
- Beach excursions (outside of reserve)
- Golf (outside of reserve)

Child Policy

Children under the age of 16 can be accommodated free of charge at Villa Izulu and Thanda Safari Lodge if sharing with parents (max 2 children per room). Thanda Tented Camp only accommodates children over the age of 12.

Please note that game drives are restricted to children over the age of 6 at all of the Thanda accommodations.