Exploring the Wild Wonders of Thanda Safari

Exploring the Wild Wonders of Thanda Safari

“Thanda” – of Zulu origin. Pronounced: “tun-dah”.

English translation: “love”.

Definition: to have a Strong liking for, take great pleasure in.

You have reached the very heart of Zululand — and what a glorious destination it is!

“At Thanda Safari, you can look forward to an unbridled safari experience, supreme accommodation and a taste of Zulu culture like nowhere else on earth.

Nestled in the hills ruled by the reigning king of the Zulu Nation, this KwaZulu Natal bushveld invites you to take a walk on the wild side. We welcome you to experience all that Africa has to offer, from our warm sunsets to the sights and sounds of our untamed landscapes and our famous Big Five.

Thanda Safari is the game reserve for those with a taste for life’s finer things. Treat yourself in true African style to one of the treatments available at the Thanda Spa or decorate your home with hand-crafted African art from its curio shop.

If it’s activities you want, Thanda Safari has it all. Experience the richness of the African continent on Thanda Safari’s daily game drives, expertly guided bush walks, Zulu cultural tours, or during wildlife photography training and wildlife conservation projects.

They can also arrange for you to spend time observing crocodiles and hippos in the St Lucia Wetlands Park or maybe you would like to enjoy a 5-star meal under the stars with a loved one.

Whatever you want to do during your stay at Thanda Safari will tailor-make a distinctly African experience that you will never forget.”

Now, are you ready to explore the wild wonders of Safari travel through the eyes of an Influencer? Join me, Zahra D on this hosted media trip to the 5-star Thanda Safari exclusive Guest-stay.

This is going to take you far beyond the traditional safari – with the vivid description I’ve just introduced, you will get to experience South Africa in all its spectacular beauty, an African safari experience that is life-changing.

In South Africa’s Royal Zulu Kingdom of Northern KwaZulu-Natal is Thanda Safari, a private Big Five game reserve, which, in addition to celebrating the Big Five and all wildlife, embraces the culture and traditions of the legendary Zulu people. Thanda means ‘Love’ in the language of the Zulu people, and Thanda Safari lives this ethos in the management of its 14 000-hectare reserve, staff empowerment and partnerships and upliftment programmes with its neighboring Zulu communities. Get the insider’s look at what to expect when you embark on an unforgettable safari adventure in the heart of Zululand.

Get the insider’s look at what to expect when you embark on an unforgettable safari adventure in the heart of Zululand.

The Benefits of Safari Travel

One of the most awe-inspiring ways to explore the wild wonders of nature is through safari travel. From the depths of the forest to the tops of the highest peaks, the experience of being out in nature with its full grandeur is an unforgettable one. Safari travel is an adventure that brings travelers up close and personal with the great outdoors and its inhabitants. Through Thanda Safari, I was able to turn a journey of a lifetime into an experience I get to share with you.

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Traveling to unfamiliar territories, camping in the wilds, and exploring new cultures may all be parts of the journey that the word “safari” offers as we have come to think over the years. I have experienced something completely different to my regular day-to-day life and, as an influencer, there is no better setting to get some incredibly unique content that will capture attention – out in the wild.

Aside from the obvious benefits of taking pictures in these far-flung places and gaining followers, Thanda Safari offered a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the world, its cultures, and its creatures. It was a chance to connect with the natural environment, experience something truly remarkable, and have some truly amazing stories to share alongside the night-fires with my fellow safari troop.

About Thanda Safari

Thanda Safari is a multiple winner of The World’s Leading Luxury Lodge award, and was ranked as one of the 20 Top Resorts in South Africa in the 2020 Conde Nast Traveller Awards. (image provided by Thanda Safari)

Thanda Safari is a Big Five game reserve situated on 14 000 hectares in the heart of Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, owned by Swedish philanthropists Christin and Dan Olofsson. It offers an authentic South African wildlife experience with excellent game viewing all year round and has a sincere commitment to the Zulu culture and conservation of the environment. It is actively involved in conservation and wildlife research and works to uplift the local communities through ‘Star for Life’ and other projects.

Meaning ‘love’ in isiZulu, Thanda Safari, a proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World was ranked as one of the 20 Top Resorts in South Africa in the 2020 Condé Nast Traveller Awards,  is a multiple winner of The World’s Leading Luxury Lodge award and winner at the 29th World Travel Award 2022 in three categories – South Africa’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2022: Villa iZulu at Thanda Safari; World’s Leading Exclusive Private Island 2022: Thanda Island, Tanzania and the World’s Leading Luxury Private Villa 2022: Villa iZulu at Thanda Safari, South Africa (Villa iZulu previously won at the World Travel Awards 2021 and 2020) with Thanda Safari Lodge winning the title of World’s Leading Safari Lodge in 2020.

A Day in the Life of an Influencer on Safari

It’s the start of a new day and I’m ready to take on safari life as an influencer. As I drive up around the entry point and gaze out of my window, I see nothing but wide-open plains stretching into the horizon, as far as the eye can see. I take a deep breath of the morning air, appreciating the stillness of nature before the day begins. The morning light barely grazes the sky, and already I am more than ready for the adventure ahead.

#MasterYourPath Credit to @FordSouthAfrica for the brand-new sponsored Ford Everest Sport

With a full itinerary, my day is set to be a wild and wonderful ride. I board a 4×4 Thanda Safari jeep and we’re off! We spot some of Africa’s domineering wildlife, our cameras capturing every moment of the experience. I marvel at the beauty of safari life as I’m joined by the rest of our troop, and I can’t help but be awed by the wonders I’m discovering with them. At midday taking a break for lunch, feasting on delicious local food whilst taking in the views of the African wilderness (mention a few dishes off the menu you had been served). After the break, it’s back onto the jeep and off again. Towards the end of the afternoon, we take a guided walk, taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the bush.

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With the sun setting, the African sky is lit up in beautiful colours, and my day as an influencer on my first shared safari with you has come to an end. I can’t help but feel amazed by the wild wonders I’ve encountered, and I know that I’ll be continuing my safari journey for many more days to come.

Top Spots on this Safari Experience

Keen travelers who enjoyed discovering wild wonderlands in the past created a pathway for us venturing into unfamiliar landscapes. When setting out on an adventure into the unknown, travelers like me are looking for information to help decide where to go, and how best to explore that region. Drawing from my new-found experience, the advice of a travel-blogger/ influencers like me do not disappoint, so here are thee must-see stops for the quintessential Thanda Safari African Adventure.

Thanda Safari offers three different accommodation types, Thanda Safari Lodge, Villa iZulu and Thanda Tented Camp.

  • Thanda Safari Lodge has nine bush suites – shaped like a traditional Zulu homestead, the suites have panoramic views of the surrounding game reserve
  • Villa iZulu is an outstanding safari hideaway for families, holidaymakers and wedding parties wanting privacy – situated amidst lush green lawns and surrounded by expanses of wild African bush, Villa iZulu can accommodate 10 guests in five suites
  • Thanda Tented Camp features 15 colonial safari-style tents, each with its own viewing deck and en-suite bathroom

Game drives can be out in the chilly atmosphere for most of the time, it’s best to have a light jacket, beanie and a scarf on hand. For animal tracking or bush walks, the most comfortable you could be in on foot, are long pants and closed walking shoes, while posing for a group shot or the occasional selfie with a scenic view.

Whatever type of experience you are seeking, there is something for everyone in the diverse planes of Thanda Safari located 23km north of Hluhluwe on the N2, approximately 220km north of Durban, and is easily accessible from the N2 by gravel road (no 4×4 required). Richards Bay is the closest commercial airport, with King Shaka International Airport, Durban being the closest international airport. Road transfers are available from and to Durban and Richards Bay Airports.

Tips on planning your first Safari

If you’re looking to embark on an unforgettable safari adventure, understanding what makes a tour special and finding the best one for your needs is key. To help you plan you’re the first, best safari tour the way I did, simply keep these tips top-of-mind:

  • Research – To make sure you’re comfortable on the tour, take the time to read up on reviews from past customers as these can really help in determining reliability and safety of the trip.
  • Cost – Decide on a budget and research what’s included in the rate. Things like daily itineraries, types of accommodation, transport, game drives, meals and drinks make a big difference in how much you’ll end up spending.
  • Know Your Landscape to pack for the track – Different safari tours have different landscapes and settings, from wild terrain to luxurious lodges. Figure out what type of landscape you’re going to be immersed in to fit the most comfortable gear while styling up the crew. Also, take a moment to find out if you need to dress up for dinner.
  • Ask An Influencer – An influencer can provide valuable insight into what it’s like to experience the safari from a first-hand viewpoint. If travel bloggers or social media influencers have visited the same safari tour, reach out to get their honest feedback. (See you in the DM’s) This can be one of the most powerful ways to narrow down the best tour option for you
  • Finally, you need to make sure that the tour service customizing the safari for you is providing all of the insightful information the way Thanda Safari has done for me.

Your next journey into the wild

By simply staying true to this brief roadmap for your next journey into the wild, you’re sure to enjoy a safari experience just the way I have, if not, more!

Adventure is out there so go out and #livalil – don’t forget to shop the look!

Overall, I hope that exploring the wild wonders of Thanda Safari through my eyes has been an enlightening experience. Featuring some incredible wildlife, a variety of cultures, and delicious dishes to tease the tastebuds. From peaceful sunsets to exciting excursions, the traveler’s journey is a pleasure from start to finish.

With an influx of new knowledge and the excitement of exploration, Thanda Safari most certainly left an impression on the explorer in me. #Travel-A-Lil with me to make an educated decision on whether you choose to take the leap or not, just remember: adventure is out there so go out and #livalil

Disclaimer: Thank you to Thanda Safari who kindly hosted my stay. All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Join me on my #TravelALil adventures and allow me to expand your views through my travel and dining reviews, sharing the joy with everybody who truly needs it. Don’t forget to leave a comment or send me a DM on Instagram!

With love,

Zahra D