Travelling with a family or in a small group justifies booking a whole villa that is exclusively dedicated to your party. These self-contained properties are fitted with the finest in security, exclusivity and luxury. For those fortunate enough to stay in these exclusive villas, there’s nothing more satisfying when travelling in Africa than your own private home-away-from-home.
Ideal for family reunions, intimate getaways with friends or a corporate break-away, the five villas we’ve selected come fully equipped for a satisfying stay. All include beautiful pools, dedicated staff, tailor-made meals and, of course, the wild expanses of Africa on your doorstep.
1. KwaZulu Natal: Thanda’s Villa iZulu
Set amongst the lush wilderness of Northern KwaZulu Natal, Thanda’s Villa iZulu is steeped in Zulu history and is a loving recreation of a kraal fit for kings (Thanda means ‘love’ in Zulu). It was recently voted ‘Africa’s Leading Luxury Villa’ at the World Travel Awards and is a premier choice for accommodation in South Africa. With 1,000 square meters under thatched roof, this villa has a heated pool, private viewing deck and boma (enclosure), library, wine cellar and games room for the kids. Originally built for a big family, the children’s needs are top of mind. It occupies prime position in a private game reserve and even boasts a helipad and VIP security. Thanda is actively involved in conservation and wildlife research and through the ‘Star for Life’ Project and other projects they are actively working to uplift the local communities. This is Big Five game viewing at its best whilst traversing through more than 14,000 ha of wilderness.
2. Sabi Sands: Lion Sands 1933 Lodge
Originally built as the private home of the More family, the Lion Sands 1933 Lodge has a homely and personalised atmosphere. Here since their great grandfather Guy Aubrey Chalkley first set up camp eighty years ago, it sits beside the Sabi River with commanding views over the bush and private reserve. With an intriguing blend of contemporary and historic design, the lodge has four suites, a children’s dormitory (sleeps 8) and a wonderful family lounge with crackling fireplace. The large pool will impress the kids and keep them busy for hours. For animal lovers, Lion Sands is one of the premier locations in the country for encounters with the Big Five on safari drives in open 4×4 vehicles led by experienced game rangers.
3. Hermanus: Grootbos Villa
This famous whale watching town, an hour’s drive from Cape Town, is a weekender favourite with Cape Town locals. Nestled between clifftop walks, long sandy beaches and an impressive mountain range Hermanus is the ideal place for a family gathering or a week of relaxing with your friends. Just outside the coastal town is Grootbos Private Nature Reserve – one of the jewels of the Cape Floral Kingdom. The villa at Grootbos affords you privacy in pristine nature, with a secure and comfortable villa in a contemporary style. Decorated by celebrated local artists, and equipped with a full compliment of mod-cons (including private chef), the villa at Grootbos is the perfect destination for a family trip during the October Whale Watching Festival.
4. Cape Town: Ellerman House Villas (Villa Two)
This private villa overlooking Camps Bay is the ultimate in Cape Town villas and is decked out with fabulous interiors, style and an enviable art collection. From the main modernist suite – with unbelievable views of the Atlantic Ocean – to the perfect symmetry of the infinity pool, this brainchild of up-and-coming architect Michael Dennett oozes style. Ellerman House is within walking distance of the beach and just a short hop over Kloof Nek into the vibrant Cape Town City Bowl. Adjacent is the historic building of Ellerman House, and together they epitomise the glamour of Clifton’.
5. Waterberg: Ants Nest, World’s View
Located in the remote northern hills of South Africa, World’s View at Ant’s Nest is the ultimate bush lodge for young families. As the names suggests, the lodge boasts commanding views of the surrounding area from the ridge on which it sits. Easily accessible from Johannesburg, World’s View is an affordable alternative with great value for money. Game viewing is good in the area and giraffe, kudu, eland and zebra are frequently seen. While the wildlife catches the eye, and the kids are kept busy out in nature, the real highlights are the incredible views – best enjoyed from the deck or private balcony of the master suite. You really get to appreciate the remote and beautiful wilderness of Africa in a fun and unpretentious manner.
For more images, check out our ‘Top 5 Exclusive Villas in South Africa’ Pinterest board.