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It’s rare that we uncover a contemporary bushveld hideaway that is so perfectly positioned in a Big Five game reserve, and this one’s in the heart of historic Zululand. Just over three hours’ drive from King Shaka airport and six hours from Jo’burg, it’s set in iconic Acacia bushveld on a 23 000ha reserve. Designed by award-winning architect Richard Stretton, who was chosen by the owners for his touch-the-earth-lightly philosophy, every aspect is intended to make you feel close to the bush.

And it succeeds. Floor-to-ceiling glass affords views over the deck and pool to the waterhole below and even Ghost Mountain can be seen through the canopy of trees from your bed in the main suite. With part of the Lebombo mountain range in the distance, it’s a mesmerizing horizon in the late-afternoon light as dusk begins to fall. At dawn, sunlight steams into the living areas, making it a wonderfully cocooning space in winter. ‘I wanted to feel like I was sleeping under the stars in the bush so that’s why the
whole place can open up,’ says the owner, who used to sleep with the doors open before the lion population increased! Stretton calls it ‘formalised camping’ but we can assure you that it’s nothing of the sort – this is the most comfortable bush home. We love the fact that local artisans crafted the stone walls, and even the Tamboti pillars were upcycled from a dairy farm in Bela Bela. Manyoni Private Game Reserve is one of the largest privately owned reserves in KwaZulu-Natal with 17 dedicated landowners who dropped their fences in 2004 to create one protected wildlife reserve, which then became the focus of the World Wildlife Fund Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.

All passionate conservationists, the reserve has seen historic species return and thrive. Today, if you sit quietly on the deck for long enough, the waterhole is likely to be visited by impala, nyala, wildebeest, kudu, zebra, buffalo, and giraffe… and if you’re really lucky, you will be visited by lion, white rhino, black rhino, elephant, cheetah, and leopard. Expect to find extraordinary diversity here, with a mix of riverine woodland and savannah interspersed with hilly regions.

Distinctive Umbrella Thorn Acacias, striking candelabra Euphorbias, massive Marulas, Weeping Boer Bean, Bush Willow, and Tamboti trees dot the reserve along with Knobthorn Acacia forest, all of which is home to over 455 bird species at last count – it’s no surprise then that Manyoni means ‘Place of Birds’ in Zulu. It’s an easy drive from Jo’burg and Durban, and King Shaka International Airport is now a non-stop, direct flight away from London Heathrow (3  flights a week) on the new British Airways flights to Durban, starting 29 October 2018.

SPECS
• Erf size: approx 2.4Ha freehold
• Area under roof: 431m²
• Unfenced (apart from a single-strand elephant fence)
• Four bedrooms:
– One master suite with king size bed
– Two king bedrooms (each with an additional single bed)
– One twin single bedroom with a bunk bed (sleeps 4)
• Direct access outside from all bedrooms
• Air-conditioning in all bedrooms
• Four en suite bathrooms (3 with bath & shower, 1 with shower only)
• Fireplace
• Plunge pool (no net, not heated)
• 12 x Pool loungers
• Outside shower

Pricing

Thuleni Homestead is for sale for R11.5 million. Price includes basic furniture but excludes artworks and personal items. Additional option to purchase 1/9th share in the full Luthuli concession of 85mil value = R9.5m

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