The villa, with its large bedrooms and indoor–outdoor pool, is a world away from Madiba’s humble home in Soweto, which we visit when back in Johannesburg. Madiba moved into the small red-brick house in 1946 and it is now a museum to his life and legacy. In Johannesburg we make the Saxon Hotel our base. Set within 10 “Don’t be surprised if you see a hippo wallowing in the fenced-off waters below as you sip your afternoon glass of Sauvignon.”
African barbecue)—to vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. Whatever your dietary preference be sure to try Shambala’s chakalaka, a traditional relish that packs quite a punch. You can eat in your room or in the bar and dining area, which has a terrace overlooking the reserve’s river on which to sunbathe and enjoy the sights and sounds of Africa. Don’t be surprised if you see a hippo wallowing in the fenced-off waters below as you sip your afternoon glass of Sauvignon. Also on the reserve is the Nelson Mandela Villa, commissioned by Shambala owner Douw Steyn for his friend, and the man who later became known as Madiba, as a place where the statesman could relax and entertain away from the spotlight. The retreat can now be hired and sleeps up to 12.
lush acres (4 ha) the suite-only hotel is quietly luxurious with super-attentive staff (a 24-hour butler is on hand for whatever you may need or desire) and World of Interiors -worthy decor. Food is also noteworthy here. Ask chef Jane-Therese Mulry to take you on a tour of Sarapana, the hotel’s kitchen garden, and she’ll show you what you might be eating during your stay, either in the all-day Qunu restaurant, which she oversees, or the fine dining Grei, where head chef Candice Philip produces show-stopping tasting menus that riff on “herbaceous and natural themes.” Go easy on lunch at Grei—each course is more spectacular than the last and you’ll be pleasantly stuffed come dessert. shambalaprivategamereserve.co.za; saxon.co.za
Town and country: Accommodation at the Shambala Private Game Reserve comprises traditional Zulu- style huts with woven walls and domed ceilings ( right ), while babbling streams run between the nine huts ( left ). In contrast, a room at Johannesburg's Saxon Hotel ( below ).
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