Nelson Mandela’s luxurious holiday home was recently opened to the public as a holistic retreat where travelers can explore South Africa’s rich wildlife offerings. The Nelson Mandela Centre for Reconciliation House is located in the 24,000-acre Shambala Private Game Reserve, a 2.5-hour drive north of Johannesburg.
Mandela considered his house at Shambala a haven of peace and tranquility where he could receive high-profile guests. It was a gift from Douw Steyn, owner of Shambala and Johannesburg’s Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa. Mandela’s former private secretary, Zelda La Grange, wrote about Shambala in her memoir, “Good Morning, Mr. Mandela,” saying: “Shambala not only created the perfect setting for him to write, but also much-needed peace and quiet time.”
Using Mandela’s book “Long Walk to Freedom” as a reference, the interiors draw inspiration from his reminiscences of his childhood in Qunu and the importance of his African upbringing. Gracing the walls are photos of some of the prominent figures who have visited the center over the years, including Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton.