The Heart of Madiba Heritage.

Sanctuary Mandela celebrates the life of iconic freedom fighter, peacemaker, statesman, and father of the South African nation, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013). While staying at the hotel, guests can immerse themselves in the spirit of a leader known to the world as Madiba, or simply Tata.

Surrounded by an Aura of Contemplation.

Paying homage to Madiba’s depth of character and contemplative spirit, Sanctuary Mandela is surrounded by lush gardens and retreat spaces filled with perfectly-curated exhibits that pay tribute to the human rights activist, former president, and global icon, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Every corner of the boutique hotel is envisaged to provide the perfect combination of tranquillity, heritage and mindful experiences. Time spent at Sanctuary Mandela promises momentous healing and reflection. That reflection is encouraged throughout the hotel, whether through design elements, photographs personal to the house, or art from the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s archive, including paintings of Madiba from renowned artist John Meyer.

Sanctuary Mandela is also designed to engender a sense of curiosity. Throughout the hotel, there are design ‘Easter eggs’, enticing guests to ask staff questions, who are all trained as storytellers and can give guests a guided tour, explaining the story behind each little touch.

Host to Luminaries and History.


Sanctuary Mandela isn’t just built on the site of Nelson Mandela’s former Houghton residence, it also features elements from the original home. That means it’s infused with history. Madiba and members of his family lived at the Houghton residence between 1992 and 1998 (after which it became the headquarters of the Nelson Mandela Foundation until 2002). He was based there while negotiating the multi-party talks that led to South Africa’s democratic rebirth, South Africa’s famous 1995 Rugby World Cup win, the first elections, and his presidency.

Throughout his time at the residence, Madiba also hosted a number of luminaries from around the world. Over the years, visitors to the Houghton home included Michael Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, basketball legend and AIDs activist, Magic Johnson, and football great and current President of Liberia, George Weah.

A blend of heritage and functionality.

In designing Sanctuary Mandela, it was important to ensure that it achieved the optimal blend of being a functional boutique hotel while still reflecting its status as an iconic part of South African history.   

As such, there is a deliberate contrast between the parts of the hotel made up of the original house and those that are new constructions. Through the use of elements such as exposed brick and steel beams, the sense that something old being built out of something new is created. This echoes the role Madiba played in forging a new South Africa out of the ashes of Apartheid. 

Where parts of the original house had to be demolished, materials were saved to be used throughout the hotel. Bricks from the original house, for example, have been incorporated into the reception counter and some of the original flooring has been framed as artwork in the Insights restaurant. A wall from the original house, meanwhile, has been retained and turned into a gallery wall, which features donated artworks from the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s archives. 

Subtle nods to the property’s history and Madiba’s life are woven throughout the hotel and its grounds, giving guests a powerful sense of where they’re staying without it feeling overpowering.

Who we are.

The former president’s home is owned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a nonprofit organisation which focuses its work on contributing to the making of just societies by mobilising the legacy of Nelson Mandela, providing public access to information on his life and times, and convening dialogue on critical social issues. Its key objective is finding sustainable solutions to the problems confronting humanity. It aims to become a respected change agent in South Africa and beyond, with a global audience and an embedded practice of deep dialogue informed by robust research, analysis and evaluation.

On behalf of the foundation, Sanctuary Mandela is managed by Motsamayi Tourism Group (formerly Thebe Tourism Group) and Miarestate. Originally formed in 2001, Motsamayi Tourism Group is the oldest black-empowered South African tourism group and has a significant portfolio in tourism attractions, accommodation and experiences. Motsamayi Tourism Group is globally recognised and respected for creating, curating and celebrating the Africa’s iconic destinations.

The group is 46% black-owned, and the shareholders – Motsamayi Tourism Group and Futuregrowth Asset Management – create a powerful partnership that will be instrumental in leading growth and transformation in the tourism industry.