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Thanda Villa iZulu

Last updated: 30 June, 2024

This uber-luxurious home of Swedish IT billionaire Dan Oloffson is like a five-star hotel – but in the bush. Some of the world’s biggest names have stayed here, so the staff are trained to the highest standards. It feels polished and professional, as well as friendly.

The five suites are super-comfy; the decor opulent but stylish, with private decks and bomas. There is nothing you could want for in these rooms; they are extraordinarily luxurious.

The food world-class. Plus, it has a big lawned garden and private pool for relaxing around. It’s rare to find a bush house with a big heated pool and Jacuzzi. It’s also one of the few safari camps with a proper spa and well-trained therapists who use plant-based Africology products.

This isn’t old-fashioned bush living; it’s a millionaire’s retreat. Formerly a cattle ranch, it feels more like a park than African wilderness. You don’t get that raw African feel that makes a safari so special. But for a gentle introduction to safaris, and for seeing all the game without compromising on luxury, it’s ideal.

Game and game viewing

The Big Five are all here, plus endangered wild dogs. The property offers walks and day and night drives to see them all.

Special activities

This area of KwaZulu has an enormous variety of activities, from cultural villages, gem-stone mines, to turtle-tagging projects. Nearby beaches are wild, long and unspoilt – ideal for horse-riding and diving day trips.

Local community & conservation

Massive contributions are made, via Thanda charities such as the Thanda Foundation and Star For Life, to projects promoting conservation, community empowerment, education and health. The camp helped set up a Zulu cultural village, Vula Zulu, which channels proceeds back to local communities.

Taking the kids

All ages are welcome. Thanda has a top-notch kids programme: each child is given a Bugs ‘n’ Bucks pack, to help them become a junior ranger.

Getting there

It’s an hour’s flight from Johannesburg to Richard’s Bay, then two hours’ drive, or a four-hour drive from Durban.


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General amenities

Key facilities

Airport transfers*
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Kids club
Parking: On-site (free)
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room amenities

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Hot tub (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed