Trovel » Accommodation » Zulu Camp - Shambala Private Game Reserve

Zulu Camp - Shambala Private Game Reserve

Nelson Mandela's retreat and a unique place to truly connect with nature

Zulu Camp Shambala Private Game Reserve

Zulu Camp - Shambala Private Game Reserve

Local Temperature
Local Time
  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Accommodation
  • Activities

Lying on the white-linen sofa, in front of the open fire, it is overwhelming to think that you are at Nelson Mandela’s retreat. Wrapped in his cosy blankets, the strong presence of the philanthropist enhances the sense of peaces that prevails in the environment.

Mandela referred to Shambala as the place where the “tranquillity and natural harmony serves to remind us of our own striving for reconciliation and togetherness”.

Shambala villa came into being thanks to the flamboyant South African-born magnate Douw Steyn. This untouched land with almost 10,000 hectares, turned into a self-sufficient ecosystem, with the “big five” cohabiting with the rich flora and fauna of the area.

Your adventure starts the moment you cross the fence of the reserve on your 4x4. Zulu camp is a homely and peaceful retreat... Albeit with hippos in the garden, Nile crocodiles paddling in the waters of the Frikkie-se-loop river and the roar of lions echoing in the immensity of Africa’s starred sky.

Here animals, which greatly outnumber humans, roam free out of the grounds. This is a unique opportunity for you to truly connect with the environment.

At the end of the day, the most beautiful house on the farm is waiting for you, a tranquil place to spend the last hours of the day as you wish.

Enjoy a delightful freshly cooked dinner, prepared by Chef Maveer Thulsie, in the company of your family and surrounded by the magnificent and colorful portraits of Xhosa women (Mandela’s clan) by the artist Laura Fraser. 

Before bedtime, give yourself a treat in the indoor heated pool and contemplate the sunset from the floor to ceiling windows while hearing the hippos wallowing in the river.

Nelson Mandela’s retreat

One of the accommodations that is available to the guests is the Centre of Reconciliation, an area opened in November 2001 to visitors. It was Nelson Mandela’s personal retreat when he was freed from a 27-year incarceration in 1990. Mandela, who became friend of Douw Steyn, businessman that created Shambala Zulu Camp, was invited to stay with his wife. Steyn offered to a build a house on the farm for their own use where they could relax and it resulted in the creation of the Mandela House. Later on, it was renamed as the Centre of Reconciliation. This place gave him the opportunity to work uninterrupted in peace and solitude towards a global and local reconciliation. Still today, Nelson Mandela’s legacy is kept in this inspirational place.  

Home of the Big Five

Douw Steyn dreamed of owning a game reserve and began to buy up farms and land until having 10.000 hectares. Next he acquired rhinos, cape buffaloes, wildebeests, antelopes, zebras, giraffes, baboons and meerkats along with some predators to set up a true ecosystem. Today, Shambala Private Game Reserve is home to the Big Five, numerous smaller species and a large variety of birdlife. The elephant, buffalo, black and white rhino, lion and leopard were originally named the Big Five due to the significant challenge and potential danger that they presented to hunters. Being able to see these magnificent animals roaming free in their natural habitat is without a doubt one of the major attractions that Shambala Zulu Camp can offer you.

Awards & Nominations

Shambala Zulu Camp has been awarded for two consecutive years (2010-2012) as Africa’s Leading Luxury Lodge by the World Travel Awards that were founded in 1993 to reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry in different categories. These awards are considered the “Oscars” of the travel industry by The Wall Street Journal and are a synonym of recognition in the travel field. This year Shambala has been nominated as Africa’s Leading Private Game Reserve 2016.

Shambala Private Game Reserve is located in the ancient Waterberg mountains and occupies almost 10.000 hectares of African bushveld. This is a malaria-free area located in the province of Limpopo, South Africa. It is easily accessible in a two and a half hour drive from Johannesburg. You can also access by helicopter in 55 minutes. There is a helipad situated at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation.  

There are two categories for accommodations: the Luxury Thatched Chalets and the Nelson Mandela Centre of Reconciliation. Both accommodations have modern interior designs that will allow you to appreciate African details such as thatched roofs and majestic columns that have been made using natural materials. You will also find handwoven carpets by local craftsmen in the main building.

What you will love:

  • African-style deco
  • Conservation programs
  • Spa with products by TheraNakaTM


Luxury Thatched Chalets

Zulu Camp at Shambala Private Game Reserve offers a traditional Afro-French Provincial style accommodation with 8 honeycomb-shaped chalets, at the heart of the bushveld. Each chalet has 57 m2, a luxurious bathroom with a bath and shower that leads out to a refreshing outdoor shower on the private deck overlooking the surrounding bushveld. Rooms are filled with a king size bed dressed in the finest linens, French armoire and full length mirror. There is also a direct dial satellite phone so you can stay connected at all times. These rooms include a personal butler that will be there to assist you at all times. The luxury chalets at Zulu Camp may have a maximum of two occupants per room. However, a child aged 5 - 16 can share with adults.


Nelson Mandela Centre of Reconciliation

The accommodation at the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation is spacious and elegant, including five luxury bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. The Presidential Suite has an en-suite double bathroom and two dressing rooms as well as private living room with a television. The Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation can be booked for a maximum of 12 people. There is also an staff wing that leads directly to the main residence which includes a lounge, a kitchenette, six bedrooms and three bathrooms. There is a luxuriously elegant formal lounge with a fireplace, as well as an informal television lounge with a fireplace that is fully equipped with all DSTV channels available. The dining area is spacious and offers seating for up to 14 guests. There are two private studies, as well as a fully equipped business center that includes boardroom facilities and complimentary WiFi access. There is also an impressive indoor heated swimming pool.

Services & Amenities

  • Zulu Camp Dining 24/7 
  • Spa experience: You can enjoy personalized spa treatments to relax, revitalize and rejuvenate the senses. The Spa is found in a calm quiet area on the bank of the river, surrounded by nature. Each of the treatments offered uses natural ingredients in order to enhance a holistic wellness effect. One of the most sought-after and treasured treatments they offer is the African body massage with products by TheraNakaTM. After the spa, you can sit back and relax on the deck as you enjoy the warm African sun. The spa is open from 8am to 8pm.
  • Butler service: Butlers will assist you with packing, unpacking, giving information and adding the final touches to your suites for your personal comfort. All this is done under discretion and with efficiency at all times. 

Photos and video from Zulu Camp Shambala Private Game Reserve

At Shambala Private Game Reserve there are many options to enjoy wildlife and nature. In the interests of safety, children’s participation in the activities mentioned below are at the discretion of the guide.

Sundowner cruises

Enjoy the views and the different wild fauna from a river cruise that will take you until the 30 hectare Douw Steyn Dam, the largest man-made dam in southern Africa. The dam is home to herds of hippos as well as crocodiles and varied fish populations. From the boat deck you will also see various species of antelope and other wildlife that come down to the shores of the dam to drink water. This is the ideal opportunity to take spectacular pictures of the sunset views.


Bush picnics  

Bush picnics at Shambala are romantic and unforgettable, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the African bush with its plentiful wildlife and birds. You will be accompanied by professional game rangers, who will select the perfect spot for spreading the picnic blankets and luxurious cushions for you to spend a relaxing afternoon in the warm sunshine. Sit back and enjoy the delicious gourmet picnic feast prepared specially by Shambala’s chefs.

Elephant volunteer program

The Shambala elephant volunteer program gives you the unique opportunity to gain a better understanding of elephants. As a volunteer you will appreciate their extraordinary social structure and make a positive contribution to their wellbeing. You will learn more about conservation while enjoying a remarkable lifetime experience.


Game research and monitoring

Shambala Private Game Reserve is actively involved in wildlife conservation and a comprehensive anti-rhino poaching programme. The reserve maintains the most favourable natural conditions for its wildlife. The  game research and monitoring programme will give you the opportunity to experience some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife while working as a team.

Game drives

Under the expert guidance of game rangers you will get to know the African bush and its wildlife. You will be able to observe a wide variety of species like the black and white rhino, the elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo and giraffe among others. There is also an abundant birdlife that you will be able to contemplate on board a game viewing vehicle.


Guided bush walks

A walking safari will bring you close to the African bush. Your personal guide will give you details and information about the sounds of wildlife in their natural surroundings. You will be able to immerse yourself in the landscape and be part of the flora and fauna. 



Some of the clearest skies in the world are found in South Africa. Star-gazing will allow you to observe bright constellations of the southern hemisphere, which is particularly exciting because they look close enough to touch.


Select your accommodation

Please select an option:
Price on request
Luxury Tatched Chalet
2 Guests / 1 Room
Can accommodate a child of 5 to 16 years old
Price on request
Nelson Mandela Centre of Reconciliaton
12 Guests / 6 Rooms
Selected Dates
Please select the dates of the trip
Please select the dates of the trip

 Speak with a Specialist +34 628 625 399
Go to top | Print | Share with a friend