Spotlight: Thanda Private Game Reserve, South Africa

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

There’s something special about each and every luxury hotel. In our Spotlight series we showcase one property and highlight its most fantastic features—both the latest and longstanding. This week, we look in on the Thanda Private Game Reserve.

Spot: “Thanda” means love in Zulu, and there’s plenty to go gaga over here. Set in 14,000 hectares of northern Zululand, the reserve has rehabilitated the area and brought back native species to the area, including the Big Five: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. When guests return from game drives in the Land Rover, luxurious living awaits, in the main lodge, safari-style tented camp or the grand Royal Private Villa. When you leave your suite—with its viewing decks and big bathtubs—there are other places to while away an afternoon, including the library, well-stoked wine cellar, cigar bar and picturesque dining areas. With the Indian Ocean nearby, there’s also a host of water activities to take part in, say, diving, deep sea fishing or whale watching.

Highlight: You come here for the safari, but don’t neglect the award-winning spa. Their wellness center includes hot and cold hydrotherapy pools, a reflexology pool, outdoor sala treatment area and steam room. Reflexology, aromatherapy, hot stone massage and pressure point scalp massage are their specialties and they use scrumptious natural ingredients including essential oils, honey, yogurt and crushed papaya to rub you into a state of total relaxation. For those who don’t like to go a week without a good manicure and pedicure, they’ll take care of you too.

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