Love at Thanda Private Game Reserve

Situated in the north east of South Africa, in the ageless Kingdom of the Zulu people, where the valleys rise and the Big 5 roam is Thanda Game Reserve. Thanda meaning love in isiZulu.

Arriving at Thanda. Image Source: Thanda Game Reserve

Love has been the greatest theme of my life for the past few months having recently gotten engaged to my Italian Fiancé. I have always been passionate about the African bush and wildlife,  living overseas for the past few years that passion has only become stronger and more apparent. We wanted to be married in the middle of the bush and searched for the right place. We arrived at Thanda, the place of Love, and it was fate.

The Zululand region has recently broken a terrible drought that destroyed many wildlife areas and had devastating effects on wildlife. It was so heart-warming to drive off-road to the Thanda gates to see the bush so lush and green after a good month of rain. Before even reaching the gates, the landscape is so enticing. The fever trees glowing and the grass high and green, gently blowing in the wind. We were driven in on an open game vehicle with our guide Arno and Tracker Tuba to the stunning tented safari camp in the middle of the bush.

Our guide Arno talking about the terrain and biodiversity at Thanda. Image credit: Andi van Zyl

Each tent is completely isolated and surrounded by thick bush. It was so beautiful to go to sleep with the lion calls and hyena laughs from the den nearby the camp. Our 4:30am wake up call was made easier by the symphony of birds as the sun began to rise. The early morning game drives are so special. We were tracking lion cubs and had the sweetest sighting of 18 month brother and sister from the northern pride having a cuddle and soaking up the morning sunshine

The supermodels of the bush. Image credit: Andi van Zyl

After a coffee at the watering hole we made our way back to camp and enjoyed the bush pool and delicious African styled lunch. We also visited the main safari lodge where the 200m squared rooms have their own waterholes, outside beds and beautiful secluded views, the lodge is truly luxurious with a charming traditional feel.

On our evening game drive we were surrounded by a big herd of elephants, a little irritated with the wind but totally undisturbed by us who were watching in awe only metres away. I loved the moment the big bull showed interest in us and strolled to the front of our game vehicle, reminding us who is boss.

Enjoying the crisp early morning at our ceremony site.

A journey of giraffes lead us up to the site where we will marry in August, under the marula tree, looking over the vast African landscape, the landscape I love so much.

Here is a small clip of my time at Thanda:


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