Thanda Safari (Kwa-Zulu Natal)

Thanda Safari in Kwa-Zulu Natal

Thanda Safari is a unique bush experience in the heart of Northern Zululand in Kwa-Zulu Natal; combined with a cultural and ecological element that offers guests a special retreat into luxury and value for money. Directly translated from Zulu; Thanda means “love” and it is an expression of the magical union of powerful Zulu culture, wildlife, romance, and exclusivity; found at Thanda Safari.

As a member of The Leading Hotels of the World; Thanda Safari offers guests a choice between the opulence of the main lodge, Thanda Safari Lodge; the rugged refinement of the safari-style tented camp, Thanda Tented Camp; or an exclusive-use Villa. All three options offer five-star accommodation and service in very private surroundings.

The inimitable integration of South Africa’s best climate and rehabilitated and rich bushland of Zululand in Kwa-Zulu Natal; has made Thanda home to amazing wildlife and over four hundred bird species. Ignite your imagination and open your mind to an extraordinary experience for your soul, mind, and body. It is this unique and sought-after balance between energizing and exclusive relaxation; that we want to share with you and your dear ones.

Thanda Safari’s ethos is based on the people, wildlife, and the environment; coming together to conserve the region’s wild, natural surroundings; while partnering in socio-economic upliftment, job creation, education, and skills development in the region.

Thanda Safari Accommodation Options

Whichever Thanda Safari accommodation option you chose at this exclusive game reserve; as a multiple World’s Leading Luxury Lodge winner that is frequently featured in the media; you know you will be well taken care of. Thanda Safari Game Reserve can accommodate up to 60 x guests and 30 x children in its three accommodation options. This makes it ideal for weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, and other group needs. However; you would never realize this; as each lodge is small and intimate.

Thanda Safari Lodge

About Thanda Safari Lodge

The main lodge encompasses 9 x bush suites which offer guests the epitome of self-contained privacy and sheer luxury. Circular in structure and reminiscent of a traditional Zulu homestead against a hill; each of the air-conditioned suites boasts a breathtaking view of the surrounding game reserve. 220 m2 in size, each suite has its own spacious lounge area and master bedroom with an interleading fireplace. A thatched outdoor game viewing deck (sala) and private heated infinity pool offer refreshing solace from the summer heat. Each of the villas has a full ensuite bathroom; complete with an enormous oval-shaped bath that is big enough for two, and indoor and outdoor showers. The villas are all equipped with private bomas; for an intimate and romantic candlelit dining experience.

Thanda Safari Lodge’s shared areas are sumptuously African; including an inviting lounge, expansive deck, and library overlooking a waterhole, private business area, cigar bar, an impressive wine cellar; as well as the Thanda Safari Spa.

Thanda Safari Lodge is ideal for honeymoons and romantic occasions.

Thanda Safari Lodge Accommodation
Thanda Safari Lodge with private pool and sala

Villa iZulu

About Villa iZulu

Villa iZulu offers total seclusion, elegance, and luxury encompassed in 1 000m². Voted as Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa Accommodation at the World Travel Awards; this magnificent airconditioned Afrochic villa has five lovely rooms sleeping up to 10 guests. It is the ideal safari retreat for celebrities and royalty; visitors who want complete solitude as well as for families, friends, and gatherings. Villa iZulu features its own helicopter pad as well as separate quarters for childminders and VIP security officials.

Villa iZulu’s public areas are colorful and drenched in light, with touches of beading, welcoming leather, and authentic wood. They include an inviting library / cigar room, a spacious lounge, a grand piano; a wooden deck around a heated pool overlooking a waterhole that is popular with giraffes and other wildlife. On the deck, you will also find basic gym equipment, table tennis facilities, and a dartboard. There is also a private business area, a games room for fun-filled days spent at your Villa, and furthermore; an impressively stocked wine cellar.

Family Safaris at Thanda Safari Lodge and Villa iZulu

Child Policy and Family Safari

Enjoy a family safari holiday and witness your kids experiencing and discovering the Big Five; and all the other creatures in the bush for the first time. This 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 get to enjoy time out in the bush or relaxing at your lodge, camp, or spa.

While you’re staying at Thanda Safari; your kids can also join the Junior Rangers Course and spend time with one of the 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; something they will cherish for years to come.

South Africa family safari
Kids on safari

Children of all ages are welcome at Thanda Safari Lodge and Villa iZulu. Children under 3 years old stay free of charge;  while ages 3 – 16 pay 50% of the adult rate when sharing a suite with 2 full paying adults.
Two children aged 16 and younger can share with 2 adults. Cots are available for children up to the age of 2; kids aged 3 – 16 sleep on individual single beds.
Children aged 17 and older pay normal rates.

Child Activities and Dining

No children under the age of 3 may go on open game drive vehicles; or to dine in the boma, dining room, or on decks. We can arrange a private boma experience for families traveling with children under the age of 3. Else; childminders are available at a nominal extra rate.

For children under the age of 3; there is a ‘Bush Bumble’ in a closed vehicle between the morning and afternoon game drives.

Children aged from 3 to 6 may participate in game drives on a private game drive vehicle; at an additional cost; or if there are six guests in the group who will be seated on the same game drive vehicle.
Children from the age of 6 may participate in the lodge game drives.
Thanda Safari Lodge is unfenced; therefore wild animals can roam between the suites and the main lodge area. Villa iZulu is fenced to provide safety from wildlife.

Thanda Tented Camp

About Thanda Tented Camp and Family Safaris

Thanda Tented Camp offers an authentic African experience with its 15 luxurious safari tents; colonial-safari style; complemented with flickering firelight and lanterns illuminating your path at night. Camp with glamour (glamping) and a uniquely romantic ambiance. Each spacious tent comes with a private sun deck as well as an ensuite canvas bathroom. The camp has limited solar and battery power with a backup generator; to power the tents for a few hours each day for guests to charge cameras and phones.

Thanda Tented Camp accommodation
Luxury glamping at Thanda Tented Camp

Within Thanda Tented Camp is Jabula Tent, it is romantic and private; yet beautifully spacious. Decorated in sophisticated safari chic, it is ideal for bridal couples, honeymooners, special occasion travelers; as well as families wanting to share with each other under one canvas roof. The Jabula Tent has a king bed, a lounge area, an en-suite canvas bathroom with an outdoor shower, a private splash pool; with spectacular views of the 14 000ha game reserve. While it nestles off to the side of Thanda Tented Camp; it is both near to and slightly remote from the shared areas, to enable true solitude.

As a deterrent to wildlife, there is a partially electrified fence; along the perimeter of Thanda Tented Camp. The camp’s shared areas include a reception area, a curio shop, a lounge area, a dining area; a large rim flow pool surrounded by loungers and umbrellas, a boma, as well as a spa tent; all decorated in natural shades and complemented by the rich, warm hues of the African sunset.

Jabula Tent Accommodation
Jabula Tent Bedroom with lounge area

Thanda Tented Camp Family Safari

Thanda Tented Camp welcomes children aged 6 years and over. A child up to 16 years pays 50% of the adult rate; when sharing a suite with 2 adults. The Jabula Tent can sleep up to 2 children of 6 years and older. Children aged 17 and older pay normal adult rates.

Children from the age of 6 may participate in the lodge game drives.

Activities at Thanda Safari

Thanda Activities on Offer

Early morning and late afternoon open vehicle game drives in search of the Big Five; under the supervision of knowledgeable rangers and trackers.

On your safari on Thanda’s 14 000-ha game reserve; you’ll see an incredible range of animals; including cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs, and an abundant bird and plant life.

A guided walk through the bush is a completely thrilling experience of the wilderness and all its inhabitants. Thanda’s guides and trackers will share their extensive knowledge and animal tracking ability with you; as well as ancient Zulu stories of the wild.


As a result of Thanda Safari’s multitude of habitats and microhabitats; as well as it being the meeting place of tropical and temperate biomes; it is a hotspot of diversity. Thanda Safari has been acknowledged as a landowner within the Zululand Important Bird and Biodiversity Area; therefore detailed records are kept of all bird species by wildlife team members; using Bird Atlasing (distribution, abundance, long term change as well as their seasonal patterns). It is also a member of Birdlife South Africa.


Magnificent wildlife photography tells the story of your Thanda Safari in a way that words cannot. Thanda’s accomplished resident wildlife photographer and field guide; Christian Sperka is an expert at sharing the art of capturing wildlife on camera in a 1 ½ hour session; at no charge to guests staying for two nights or more.

Aside from these short complementary lessons, Christian also offers longer photography sessions; that take guests out into the bush for a more practical experience; covering a variety of wildlife subjects of all sizes. A wonderful offering for birders and non-birders alike; it also allows you to choose between a half-day and a full day optional excursion to the nearby Mkhuze Game Reserve; which features some of the most active hides in South Africa; visited by hundreds of animals and a large number of bird species.

Thanda Safari and Christian Sperka Photography now also offer a luxury photography game viewing vehicle; called the Green Mamba 1. This converted Land Rover Defender is the ultimate wildlife safari vehicle; taking two photographers, with an additional three guests; in ultimate comfort. Some of the special features include a Marine sound system for playing bird sounds; a 12.9″ Apple iPad Pro with various nature apps, a Thanda-style bush bar; even a Nespresso coffee machine.

Photography safari vehicle
Photography safari vehicle

Zulu Culture

At Thanda Safari most of the team members are Zulu; gain a special introduction to the Zulu people in the community. They generously share their living culture, ancient traditions, and stories of their founding monarch; the legendary King Shaka Zulu. Experience a traditional Zulu homestead, visit a traditional Zulu healer or Sangoma, and experience spellbinding Zulu singing and war dancing.

Other Activities on offer from Thanda Safari

On a Thanda Safari, you can experience and participate in every aspect of wildlife conservation; including spending time with specialist rhino monitors and conservation teams; or exploring beyond the reserve on a guided boat tour to experience hippos and crocodiles; in the nearby iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

Being so close to the Indian Ocean; Thanda is also able to offer a world-class bush and beach breakaway with trips; horse riding on the beach, whale watching, diving packages, and snorkeling; are just some of the beach options that Thanda has on offer.

Where is Thanda Safari?

Thanda Safari is in the heart of Zululand, KwaZulu Natal (KZN), with close proximity to the warm Indian Ocean. It is some 260kms north of Durban; making it ideal for a self-drive safari or alternatively; we can arrange transfers. It is also in easy road access to Southern Mozambique.

Richards Bay is the nearest commercial airport; a 1½ hour drive away, and Durban (King Shaka International Airport) is the nearest international airport; a 3-hour drive. Flights from Johannesburg also operate to neighboring Phinda Private Game Reserve on a daily basis; from where we can arrange a transfer to Thanda.

Best time to visit Thanda

Wildlife viewing at Thanda is excellent all year round. As Zululand can get very hot, if you prefer to avoid the hottest times; then the best time for your safari is in the cooler months between May to October.
Rainfall occurs between October and March and peaks in January.
The average temperature in January is 28ºC with high humidity, and the average temperature in July is 22ºC.

Accommodation Rates at Thanda Safari

All rates include:
Luxury accommodation, two game drives per day with a professional guide and tracker, all meals and selected local beverages; that includes soft drinks, house wines, local spirits, and beers; minibar, and wifi in public areas.

SADC rates are also available so please mention where you are from on your inquiry.

Thanda Safari Lodge Rates
Thanda Safari Lodge Cost per nightOff-Peak Season:
10th January until 15th December 2022
Peak Season:
16th December 2022 until 8th January 2023
Per person sharingR 8 665R 9 705
SingleR 10 831R 12 131
Per child from 3 – 16 years of age; sharing with 2 adultsR 4 333R 4 853

Rates at Thanda Safari Lodge also Include

Bushwalks with specialist walking guides, wifi in all rooms, and laundry.

Villa iZulu Rates
Villa iZulu Cost per nightOff-Peak Season:
10th January until 15th December 2022
Peak Season:
16th December 2022 until 8th January 2023
Exclusive use for a maximum of 10 guestsR 85 500R 95 760

Rates at Villa iZulu also Include

Villa iZulu host, service team, personal chef, guide, and tracker, bush walks with specialist walking guides; wifi in all rooms, and laundry.

Thanda Tented Camp Rates
Thanda Tented Camp Cost per nightOff-Peak Season:
10th January until 15th December 2022
Peak Season:
16th December 2022 until 8th January 2023
Regular Tents per person sharingR 4 995R 5 590
Regular Tents singleR 6 244R 6 988
Regular Tents per child 6 – 16 years of age; sharing with two adultsR 2 498R 2 795
Jabula Tent per person sharingR 6 120R 6 855
Jabula Tent singleR 7 650R 8 569
Jabula Tent per child from 6 – 16 years of age; sharing with two adultsR 3 060R 3 428

Tanda Tented Camp may also be on an exclusive-use basis; when you book a minimum of 10 tents.

Laundry and Guided bushwalks with specialist walking guides are not included at Thanda Tented Camp; however, guided bushwalks are available; at an additional cost.

All Thanda Safari Rates Excludes

Spa treatments
Cellar wines, champagnes, all imported spirits and beers
Transfers to / from Thanda Safari
Curios, gratuities, and telephone calls
R 220 Conservation Levy per person per stay; subject to change

Thanda Safari Offers and Packages

Three Night Honeymoon Safari

Honeymoon couples staying three nights at either Thanda Safari Lodge or the Jabula Tent at Thanda Tented Camp; will enjoy discounted rates. In addition, couples will also get:
A private romantic dinner,
A scented bath with a romantic turndown and champagne on ice,
Chocolate fondue for two,
A beaded Zulu necklace,
A traditional Zulu wedding blessing under a Marula tree.

The cost of the three-night honeymoon package is:
Thanda Safari Lodge: R 38 994 per couple
Jabula Tent at Thanda Tented Camp: R 27 540 per couple

The above honeymoon package rates are valid for guests who got married 12 months or less; from travel dates between the 10th of January until the 15th December 2022

Renew your vows or get married

Book a traditional Zulu Blessing. The Zulu blessing is done by a local Zulu and is typically held under the Marula tree; the ‘fertility tree’ or the ‘marriage tree’; which is a sacred tree amongst the Zulus.

We can tailor-make this ceremony for you but prices start at around R3 500 for 2 people. This includes a 1 hour blessing and a half-day private game drive vehicle.

4 night Thanda Combo Package

When staying two nights at Thanda Safari Lodge and one night at Thanda Tented Camp; you will receive an extra night at Thanda Tented Camp for free!

The above 4-night combo package is valid from 10th January until 15th December 2022

Pay / Stay Offers

Enjoy complimentary nights at Thanda Safari Lodge or Thanda Tented Camp with our free night offers.

Stay 4 nights, pay for 3
Valid in May, June, July, and August 2022

Stay 7 nights, pay for 5
Valid from 10th January until 16th December 2022

What could be more romantic than a destination wedding at Thanda Safari – see our Thanda Safari Weddings

Thanda Safari (Kwa-Zulu Natal)
Thanda Private Game Reserve
D242 Road
Zululand South Africa

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