Luxury Travel Advisor is excited to report that a very special experience has opened in South Africa. Located in the heart of the Waterberg Mountain Range, about a two-hour drive from Johannesburg, sits the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation. The Centre was built for Nelson Mandela by his good friend, Douw Steyn in 2001. This was Mandela’s personal retreat where he hosted family and friends and often wrote uninterrupted. Built on the Shambala Private Game Reserve, the home was closed in 2013 after the former president’s death, but it reopened in 2015. Now, the Centre, which can accommodate up to 12 people, is available to rent out in its entirety.
The home has six bedrooms, including the Presidential Suite where Mandela slept. Each bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom, adding to the luxe feel. Families, especially children, will enjoy the undercover, heated pool, which overlooks a private waterhole (hello, animal sightings!). Note: Infants and toddlers can be accommodated, but it is advised they don’t attend safari activities.The home’s décor is simple in design, playing off of Mandela’s taste, as well as the African setting. It has a thatched roof and its interiors are said to be inspired by Mandela’s childhood in Qunu, using neutral tones and fabrics. Though none of Mandela’s personal items are left in the home, the architecture and décor has not changed since his time there.
The large sitting room has a fireplace, which we hear Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton visited while at the house. Hint: Be sure to arrange for a tour of the
home to get the full background on the Centre, then head out into the bush with your guide, either on foot or in vehicles. Visitors will have a chance to see the “Big Five,” and, for an additional cost, they can book a “Big Five” interaction with a White Lion introduction. We also hear a must-do is a sundowner cruise on the Douw Steyn Dam, that’s a man-made reservoir named after the owner and founder of the Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa and the Shambala Private Game Reserve.
Included in the stay are meals prepared by a private chef, butler service and bush picnics. Contact Adam Beadon ([email protected]) to arrange a customized stay. For more information, visit www.centreforreconciliation.co.za; the home is a memberof The Leading Hotels of the World.