Built originally at the behest of Swedish investor Dan Olofsson, awarded World Travel Award’s Leading Luxury Villa 2010, Villa iZulu is located within Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, 300 km north of Durban, near Huhluluwe and Mkhuze.
Booked on an exclusive-use basis, both family and small group friendly, set about a beautiful heated pool, in a large garden of acacia trees, succulent dominated plant beds and expansive lawns, Villa iZulu is a brick, thatch and stone build and consists of a main house and five suites.
The main house is beautiful. Designed around a two-storey seating area, it includes a library, wine cellar, business room, boma, games room and dining area. Describing itself as Afro-chic, the house is characterised in places by exposed beams, deep vaulted ceilings, great spaces, polished floors and carefully choreographed seating arrangements. Huge original chandeliers dominate; and a pair of polished tree trunks stands on either side of the entrance to the dining area.
Stimulating and stylish, the shared areas are vast and cool, and would threaten to overwhelm – were it not for little snugs (the library, for example, its low ceilings, lamps and reduced natural light) which act as the perfect counterfoil to the house’s overarching design.
Villa iZulu comes fully staffed. Working out of a state-of-the-art kitchen, the full-time chef, having consulted guests as to dietry requirements and preferred foods, tailors the menu to suit specific guests tastes. Meals are taken inside, in the dining room, outside, on the viewing deck, in the privacy of one’s villa, in the garden or in the villa’s boma. In-house service is seen to by a house manager and a masseuse is permanently on hand.
The sleeping rooms are equally fine. Spacious, stunningly designed, each comes with a four-poster bed, an en suite bathroom, a seating area and private verandha. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors provide plenty of light, vaulted ceilings give the impression of endless space and muted stone floors are wonderfully suited to Kwazulu-Natal’s relatively humid climate. The rooms differ in size, the master bedroom comes with an outdoor jacuzzi, and certain features – exposed brick chimney breasts, reed cladded walls – are specific to certain rooms. The bathroom – standalone bath, toilet, sink, shower – is elegant and simple, the emphasis on light, space and function.
With its own private vehicle, driver and guide, activities at Villa iZulu include game drives, guided walks, bush picnics, cultural visits, and working with the Thanda Wildlife Conservation Team. Please be advised that the villa is very child-riendly and makes provision for young learners by means of its Bucks & Bugs safari programme.