The former house and surrounding gardens of former South African president and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela is now accepting reservations after being transformed into an inn.
The ex-abode and current business venture is a living gallery in honor of the political leader who died at the age of 95 in 2013. Sanctuary Mandela offers not only lodging but also features a restaurant with a Mandela-inspired menu and the walls throughout are decorated with memorabilia in tribute to South Africa’s first black head of state.
Sanctuary Mandela has nine rooms and will run visitors from $260 per night to nearly $1,000 for the Presidential Suite, which is located in the icon’s former bedroom. The philanthropist lived at the property — his first house in Johannesburg after he was released from 27 years of imprisonment — for six years, from 1992 to 1998. During this time, he hosted a great variety of famous guests at the address, from Bill Clinton to supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Up to 18 guests can stay at the home-turned-hotel at a time.
At the new lodge’s restaurant, visitors are presented with a menu inspired by Mandela’s own favorite meals, and prepared by his longtime chef Xoliswa Ndoyiya.
“You couldn’t go wrong with Tata [Mandela] when you give him vegetables, but it must be a variety of vegetables, because he will tell you that . . . there must be color of the vegetables on the plate,” Ndoyiya, who cooked for Mandela and his family for two decades, told Reuters. “He loved very much oxtail stew of which right now here we are having a ravioli, taken from the oxtail stew, so we made it a ravioli.”
Earlier this year, a planned auction of Mandela’s possessions — including the key to his prison cell on the infamous Robben Island — was called off amid controversy. The South African Heritage Resources Agency contacted the president of the auction house to say the items were “potential national treasures” and needed permits to leave South Africa, it was reported at the time.