What is a Private Game Reserve?

Thanda Team

When visiting South Africa’s incredible choice of game reserves, you can either opt for a self-drive in the national parks or book with a safari operator who will drive you in the national parks. Or you can book your safari at a private game reserve where all your game drives are led by a wildlife guide and tracker in a safari vehicle personally assigned to you.

Thanda Safari is a luxury Big Five private game reserve in northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, where you are taken on two game drives every day, morning and evening, in an open safari vehicle that offers an incredible feeling of being in the wild. At Thanda Safari your wildlife guide is permitted to drive off-road to offer you an up-close experience of the animals and position the vehicle for photography.

For wildlife photography enthusiasts, Thanda Safari offers customised photographic safaris led by its specialist wildlife photographer and wildlife guide. It also offers customised birding safaris and bush walks.

Accommodation at a luxury private game reserve is five-star-plus and caters to your every need. Each meal is a taste adventure and the chefs can cater to specific dietary requirements.

Game Drive at Thanda Safari


For the ultimate African safari experience, visit Thanda Safari, a private game reserve in northern Zululand, South Africa. This luxury Big Five private game reserve with its three unique accommodation offerings has repeatedly won international awards.

It personifies everything you expect from a private game reserve, including unforgettable wildlife sightings, including the Big Five, and personalised but discreet attention from our highly experienced wildlife guides and hospitality teams.

At a private game reserve, the chefs cater to all dietary requirements. Every meal offers delicious dishes and tastes, combined with carefully chosen wines and impeccable service.

Nothing compares to the feeling of being at a game reserve in Africa. All your senses awaken during up-close encounters with the Big Five in their home terrain. The lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo: these icons of the African wilderness inspire a lifelong connection with this beautiful continent.


To experience an African sunrise and sunset on safari is so moving that people remember it for the rest of their lives. Thanda Safari is a 14 000-hectare Big Five private game reserve in the magnificent rolling hills of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, also widely known as Zululand, home to the Zulu people, meaning the ‘people of heaven’, a community and culture that Thanda Safari embraces.

The Thanda Safari story is every bit of a love affair with Africa – a passionate adventure that started with Thanda’s founders and owners, Christin and Dan Olofsson. When they came across the land that is now Thanda Safari they knew at once they had found what they were looking for and started realising their dream of returning the land to the wild and creating an iconic private game reserve in South Africa.

The ultimate luxury safari experience, Thanda Safari has three accommodation offerings: nine evocative self-contained bush suites at Thanda Safari Lodge; Villa iZulu – a five-suite completely private bush retreat, ideal for small groups and families; and Thanda Tented Camp with its 15 luxury safari tents for a traditional safari experience.

At Thanda Safari, a world of wilderness and wildlife awaits you, matched with outstanding service and fine dining to the sounds of the wild. There is nothing like a campfire in the bush under South African stars in our traditional African bomas where our chefs have prepared your feast. Alternatively, you can enjoy private dining in your quarters or in the sumptuous dining areas at each of the accommodation offerings.

Thanda means ‘Love’ in the language of the Zulu people, and Thanda Safari lives this ethos in the management of its game reserve and staff empowerment, and in its relationship with the neighbouring Zulu communities.