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21st Aug 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Luxury and purpose

Situated in the heart of Zululand, the five star mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve reopens two luxuriously revamped lodges

Visitors to the five star mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve in Zululand can look forward to magnificent game viewing, delectable cuisine and beautiful accommodation. However, for founders and owner-managers Barry and Sonya Theunissen, preserving the rich Zulu culture and sustaining the area’s diverse wildlife are also top priorities.


Designed by architect Peter Whitehouse, mFulaWozi Wilderness Private Game Reserve’s two newly revamped luxury lodges, Biyela and Mthembu, were hand-built by members of the local Mthembu and Biyela Zulu clans. With privacy and eco-luxury front of mind, decorator Michele Throssell designed the interiors around a modern apothecary theme, incorporating elements and materials such as wood, leather and brass to echo the natural surroundings. Both lodges operate off the grid using solar power with water sourced locally and supplied via a filtration plant.


Biyela Lodge is named after local chief Phiwayinkosi Biyela, a descendant of King Shaka. Accommodation consists of 12 luxury standalone suites, all with private plunge pools – ideal as an exclusive bush getaway for couples. Built into the hillside, Biyela takes full advantage of the sweeping views across the floodplains of the White iMfolozi River below. Mthembu Lodge, on the other hand, is situated on the banks of the river, offering seven luxury one-bedroom suites and two family suites with magnificent views of the wilderness. Proximity to the river all but guarantees wildlife sightings at Mthembu. Aimed at the discerning traveller looking for a truly authentic African experience, the lodge is perfect for families, welcoming children from age 10, and offering quiet and exclusive accommodation. All suites have private decks with magnificent views. 


The reserve comprises 16,000ha of pristine African bushveld of which 6,000ha have been incorporated into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa. By eliminating the fences between the parks, large numbers of animals, including the Big Five, can roam freely, offering guests game drives with unparalleled sighting potential. Other wilderness experiences visitors can look forward to include bird-watching, guided walks and trails, and photographic opportunities. 


As one of the remaining bastions of the Zulu nation, mFulaWozi offers guests insight into Zulu history, culture, wilderness and local wildlife conservation efforts. Shaka Zulu conserved this land for eight months of the year to protect the endemic game, and the current custodians are following in his footsteps. Historians, academics and conservationists have long worked together in an effort to establish a sustainable ecotourism node such as this. Its purpose today is to continue protecting and preserving the wilderness and its communities for future generations. mFulaWozi is also championing a model for a sustainable socioeconomic development by engaging disadvantaged local communities in  various initiatives.

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