A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Waterberg region in South Africa’s Limpopo Province offers a landscape of breathtaking contrasts dominated by the Waterberg mountain range. True to its name meaning ‘water mountain’, this rugged region plays host to a spectacular tapestry of untamed wilderness, rivers, streams, swamps, wetlands, valleys and undulating hills that flank the blue-tinted expanse of the Waterberg Mountain Range. The area is more than 3 million years old, and is one of the most important San rock art areas in South Africa. Here, nature and safari enthusiasts will find over 2 000 plant species, more than 380 bird species, and more than 129 mammal species including the legendary Big Five. This malaria-free region is only a 2 hour drive from Johannesburg.
Just a 2 ½ hour drive, or 45 minute helicopter flight from Johannesburg, The Nelson Mandela Villa at Shambala Private Game Reserve is a quiet sanctuary close to the mystical Waterberg Mountains. Privacy, exclusivity and understated luxury define this beautiful villa that once housed Nelson Mandela. It is here that he wrote his acclaimed autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom’.
The villa offers five luxury bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, and one Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite has an ensuite double bathroom, his and hers dressing rooms, as well as a private living room, dining room and kitchenette. There is a staff wing leading directly off the main residence. Meals will be prepared by your private Chef, and a butler service is included. The villa may be booked for a maximum of 12 people.
Other amenities in the villa include a dining area with a 14-seater table, informal and formal lounges, 2 private studies, a business centre and boardroom facilities, an on-site spa with 2 treatment rooms, and an indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool situated on a viewing deck overlooking a private waterhole.
Additional activities include your own dedicated daytime and spot-lit night game drives, and the reserve’s signature ‘Big Five interaction’ bush walks, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy unlimited cruises on the Douw Steyn dam, the largest man-made lake in southern Africa, home to indigenous fish species like the largemouth bass, hippos and crocodiles. This is a perfect place to watch a spectacular African sunset.
- Transfers to Shambala Private Game Reserve can be arranged by our reservations team.
- Continue this road towards East London.
- Approximately 9km outside Port Alfred, turn right at the Oceana sign.
- Once through the gate, follow the paved road until reception is reached.
- Driving time to Shambala Private Game Reserve is approximately 2½ to 3 hours from Johannesburg.
- Follow the N1 north to Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg).
- Go through the first Toll Plaza. Continue and go through the Carousel Toll Plaza.
- At the Kranskop Toll Plaza, keep to the extreme left tollbooth to Modimolle (formerly Nylstroom).
- Drive straight through Modimolle to Vaalwater/Lephalale (formerly Ellisras). Drive straight through Vaalwater.
- At the ‘Bakkerspas’ sign (10km after Vaalwater) you will notice the decorated fence on the left hand side of the road, which is Shambala.
- Continue straight on for a short distance, then turn left at the small dam with the thatched domed entrance into Shambala Private Game Reserve.
- Members may arrange transportation by helicopter. There are two helicopter landing pads at Shambala Private Game Reserve.
- The approximate flying time from Grand Central Airport is 55 minutes. Coordinates: S 24° 16’ 45.1” E 028° 02’ 01.8”
Weather & climate
In summer, November to March, the days are warm, up to 28-32°C on average. The Waterberg has summer rainfall, normally brief thunderstorms. In autumn, April to May, the days can still be warm but the evenings cool down. The average daytime temperature is 22-28°C and the evenings are 10-15°C. In the winter months, June to August, the days are temperate and the early mornings and evenings are cold, with temperatures between 5-12°C. In spring the days start getting warmer, with crisp mornings and evenings, and on occasion the days reach fairly hot temperatures
The currency is the South African rand.
Visas and documents
Nationals of other African countries often do not require visas for South Africa. Visitors must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of travel and should have two blank pages available in their passport.