Just over a three-hour drive from King Shaka Airport and six hours from Johannesburg, perfectly situated within a Big Five Game Reserve, in the heart of the ancient Zululand, the contemporary safari hideaway, Thuleni, cushions itself into the thicket of the iconic Acacia bush veld. Set on a 23 000-hectare reserve, the owners were determined to design a property that would be enraptured by the bush and leave little trace of its existence. They employed the skills of the award-winning architect, Richard Stretton, to build Thuleni, who delivered his touch-the-earth-lightly philosophy, seamlessly. Spectacular views of the Ghost Mountains – that peak through the canopy of trees lining the watering hole – flood through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that dominate the space. A captivating horizon seeps into sight in the late afternoon light with the added viewing of the Lebombo mountain range becoming visible in the distance. The views are endless. Early morning sunlight hits the living areas, lighting them up with warmth. “I wanted to feel like I was sleeping under the stars in the bush, so that’s why the whole place can open up,” the owner said of the build. Stretton likes to call it ‘formalised camping’. Local artisans were responsible for the intricate workings of the stone walls and the crafting of the Tamboti pillars that were up-cycled from a dairy in Bela Bela.
In 2004, 17 independent, dedicated landowners and passionate conservationists, all removed their fences, to create one of the largest privately owned reserves in KwaZulu-Natal. In doing so, making Manyoni Private Game Reserve a fully protected wildlife reserve. This then became a strong focus of the World Wildlife Fund Black Rhino Expansion Project. Many forgotten species have returned to the reserve, and are now thriving.
Take the time to quietly sit on the open deck, spectating what happens to the watering hole at intermittent moments throughout the day, when the antelope, buffalo, giraffe, lion, rhino, elephant, cheetah and even leopard come down for a sip and a dip.
The most extraordinary diversity in flora and fauna exists at Thuleni, with over 455 resident bird species, and a great mix of savannah vegetation and riverine woodland, interspersed with mountainous regions.
Thuleni Homestead is for sale for R21 million
There is an option to purchase Thuleni Homestead without the share in Autumn Star Trading 629 (Pty) Ltd and without the game vehicle for R18 million