Bonamanzi, meaning 'Look, water!', is a DECO bush travel favourite. | Image by Melanie Loser

Need a one-size-fits all for your next bush adventure? We’ve found the impossible – a one-stop bush destination. Bonamanzi Game Reserve is in the heart of KwaZulu Natal with a variety of lodges to cater for all your desires. Melanie Loser takes us deeper into the bush.

The lazy bush days, the adventure, the romance, the big gatherings and even the party vibes.

It can be hard to find a beautiful getaway that fits everyone’s needs: the lovers, the families, the party-goers and even the lazy ones. Bonamanzi Game Reserve is a ‘one size fits all’ getaway destination, perfect for all age groups and all occasions. Fitting in with our upcoming Green Issue (published on 28 September), what better way to go Green than to get out into nature?

You cannot help but be captivated and entranced by the sheer beauty and energy that is Bonamanzi Game Reserve.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve

Bonamanzi Game Reserve has a variety of lodges to cater for all your desires. Luxury, all-inclusive, fully catered accommodation for the boisterous big families, self-catering lodges and even the romantic and private tree houses for the lovers wanting to escape.

Due to its ample size of 4000 hectares, Bonamanzi can hold all these varieties of accommodation with enough space in between to make you feel as if you have your very own spot in the bush.


Bonamanzi Game Reserve lakeview


Most game reserves offer smaller rooms at higher prices, which is great for honeymoons or couples retreats, but what happens when the whole family wants to join? Bonamanzi has three lodges that cannot be beaten. Dinizulu Camp and the Game Lodge have their very own pool, massive kitchen and generous lounge and dining spaces- and not to be forgotten- great views and patios.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve family rooms


The Tree Lodge, which are three structures all linked by walkways are cast up into the treetops, a magical escape for a group of friends or a nature-loving family. All of the accommodations sleep a minimum of six people, where the Game Lodge can sleep up to twelve people. Secluded and right in the heart of the bush it really is a place to call your own. Wallow in your own pool, drink in hand, and watch the abundant wildlife graze and wander about right in front of you. Absolute bliss.

Another unbeatable aspect of Bonamanzi Game Reserve is that it is home to the a big four game animals (all except Lion). It is completely safe to walk around and enjoy the wildlife. The animals are all extremely relaxed and comfortable and are often seen in and around the camps.

Bonamanzi lodge
Image by Gavin Anthony Fordham


When we said one-stop we meant it. With False Bay around the corner, even the beach addicts of the family would love it here. You can plan directly with Bonamanzi for outside activities such as diving, snorkelling and even turtle and whale watching. Hippo and crocodile boat rides are also on the list, although with the crocodile pen in Bonamanzi main camp you can watch a crock feeding right in front of your eyes.

Therein lies the unique beauty of Bonamanzi. You are almost guaranteed to see game whether you partake in a game drive, a boat cruise, a guided walk or even just relaxing on our viewing deck in the lodge – Bonamanzi is abundance.

Not much of a doer? That’s perfect. Relax in the pool or on the deck with a good drink. Small, well-placed bars are open all around the camp, which is fantastic because just the thought of all these activities in the KZN humidity can make guests pretty parched.

There is also a fully-equipped spa that offers a variety of treatments with the irresistible Healing Earth Spa Range, perfect for a lazy pamper day. The restaurant is open for every meal of the day, and snacks and high teas are served on request to wherever you would prefer to enjoy them. The massive bonfire that happens each night at the main camp, Lalapanzi, is a definite first for many.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve spa

Taking children to a Game Reserve can be daunting. Children can get bored at the drop of a hat. Once again Bonamanzi has the answer. It holds one of the only genuine ancient Zulu Villages that remain. Let your children safely explore hidden spaces and immerse themselves in culture and fun. Horse riding and babysitters are all available to allow everyone a care-free and truly enjoyable time.

Do not let this dissuade romance seekers. Arrange for a romantic picnic for just the two of you and take a stroll to one of the many bird hides or spectacular viewing decks the reserve has to offer. It truly is a remarkable experience for all occasions.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve sunset

There is something for everybody at Bonamanzi.

Bordering on the Umfolozi River, Bonamanzi offers the most beautiful and tranquil boat rides. Snacks and drinks are served on board and everything from tortoises to hippos can be seen, and if you are lucky enough the elephants might join you for a drink. A sundowner on this boat ride is a bucket list must.

Boat trip


Besides seeing Giraffe, Kudu and Red Duiker by there hundreds, Bonamanzi’s real gem is the bird life it holds. Being one of the best birding destinations in Africa, it is home to many endangered and very rare birds. Bonamanzi affords its rich variety of fauna and flora to the three main ecosystems that it holds on the reserve: Coastal grasslands, tropical forest and woodland.

In one spot you can experience several different terrains and bush experiences. Highly trained and enthusiastic guides can be booked for all activities to give you extremely useful and interesting facts on the beauty of nature and its workings.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve

With the largest free-standing thatched building in the Southern hemisphere being only one of the many state of the art conference and wedding venue options, Bonamanzi is the place to be. Coupled with expert event coordinators and abundant places for guests to stay and entertained, having an event here is a dream come true.

Bonamanzi Game Reserve family venues

Bonamanzi delivers captivating experiences every time – all the time – and DECO was thrilled to experience it.

 A visit to Bonamanzi is a feast for all senses; experience as much as possible.


To book a family or romantic getaway you will never forget,
visit their website or email

To get beautiful updates and photos about the reserve follow them on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest.

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Melanie Loser ELLE DecorationDECO intern Melanie Loser was born and raised in the rustic utopia that is Empangeni, KZN. Animals and nature are her go-to for relaxation and escape – although Roald Dahl and a good glass of wine come a close second. After finishing her undergrad in Architecture at UCT, Mel decided to explore her creative side at ELLE Decoration, hoping to incorporate environmental and green living concerns into her future design work..