Stay at Nelson Mandela’s former home

If you are interested in a truly special holiday then why not spend some time at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s holiday home.

Mandela’s friend South African born Douw Steyn (founder of compare the market/meerkat) purchased 10,000 hectares of land in Limpopo Province in the late 90’s and created a private reserve known as the Shambala Private Game Reserve. As well as a home for himself he built a hacienda-style single-storey villa for the former president and his third wife Graca to enjoy.

The former South African President Nelson Mandela used the home as his special retreat giving him the opportunity to work in complete peace and solitude. The retreat provided him the space to strengthen his efforts towards global and local reconciliation. Mandela and Graca spent the last decade of his life living at the retreat called The Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation.

When Mandela died in late 2013 Graca left the property (which was still owned by Douw Steyn) and it was boarded up. Steyn owns the Saxon Hotel in the upmarket district of Sandhurst in Johannesburg as well as another property in the Shambala reserve called Zulu Camp. This summer Steyn decided to add Mandela’s property to the Saxon Collection and make it available for private hire up to 12 people.


Living Room

Living Room

The retreat is situated below the ancient Waterberg Mountains within the Shambala Private Game Reserve which can be reached by a 2 hour 30 minute drive or 55 minute helicopter drive from Johannesburg. The retreat blends well into the natural surroundings with very little changes to the property since the former president lived here.


Dining Room

Dining Room

All the décor and furnishings were selected by Mandela and his wife with cool neutral tones, fabrics and tribal designs running through the house. African designs have been incorporated in the plasterwork, thatched roof and columns with extensive use of natural materials inside and out. Portraits of Xhosa women (Mandela’s tribe) can be found throughout the house and his old TV and DVD player still remain, it wasn’t changed to a new plasma screen as the owners want it to remain as Mandela left it.



Presidential Suite

Guests can choose a book to read off Mandela’s very own book shelf as well as look through the guestbook which includes former president Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey. The retreat is made up of 5 luxury bedrooms including a Presidential Suite (Mandela’s former bedroom) with en-suite double bathroom, his and hers dressing room and also a private dining area with kitchenette and private living area with television.

Swimming Pool

The staff wing includes a lounge, operations area as well as kitchenette, 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Outside is an outdoor deck and indoor heated pool with viewing deck overlooking a private waterhole so you can glimpse hippos and other wildlife while you swim. Outside of the house visitors can take game drives to see some of the big 5 that inhabit this reserve as well as bush walks with safari guides.

With the retreat costing between £3,800 and £4,600 full board per night, it doesn’t come cheap but the chance to walk in the steps of Mandela is a once in a lifetime opportunity.



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