Mandela's Private Retreat


Facilities & services

  • Six bedrooms
  • House chef
  • Indoor pool


  • Game drives at the nearby reserve

Built in 2001 by Douw Steyn, the owner of the Shambala Private Game Reserve, the Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation was Mandela’s retreat and private home in the years after he left office as South Africa’s President. Situated close to the entrance of the 24,710 acre Shambala Private Game Reserve, the house was returned the house to the owner after Mandela’s death and has subsequently been opened for hotel stays.

This six bedroom house was designed to be simple on Mandela’s request, but it’s also inherently elegant with distinctly African touches such as a thatched roof, furniture crafted from African woods, and large, colourful prints and cravings by master Mozambique craftsman Matsemela ike Nkoana. During your stay, you can even visit Mandela’s office which has been left intact. In fact, the whole house has been left in the style of Mandela’s time, creating a special atmosphere that evokes the great man. There’s an indoor pool for you to enjoy, and when it comes to dinner, you can choose to dine outdoors listening to the hippos, in the dining room, or as Mandela did, in the kitchen with the staff. The house’s fine dinners are a talking point in themselves, served up by chef Maveer Thetsie, the executive chef of the Reserve’s other property, the eight cottage Zulu Camp.

Outside, you’ll find a backyard water hole which is often frequented by three hippos and the proximity of the reserve means you can easily go out on game drives to see the rhinos, elephants, and giraffes.

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