History

THULA THULA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE is situated in the heart of Zululand, in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal. This 4500 ha, malaria free wildlife reserve was established in 1911 and has been operational as Thula Thula since 1998. It is home to a wide variety of game like elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard, hippo, giraffe, birds and many more. Thula Thula, with its centuries of cultural and wildlife heritage, takes pride in tracing back its origin to the private hunting grounds of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu Empire. The first historic meeting between Shaka and his father (Senzangakhona), which set the stage for the creation of the Zulu nation, took place at the Nseleni River at Thula Thula.

The Zulu name Thula Thula literally means peace and tranquility.

Meet the Wild Team

Read the whole story in our best selling books:

Timeline of Events

June 1998
Windy Ridge Game Reserve

Lawrence & Francoise purchase a small game reserve of 1500 ha called Windy Ridge.

August 1999
Francoise at the Boma

Francoise at the Boma after the herd arrives at Thula Thula

September 1999
The Main Farmhouse

The main farmhouse where we lived and where the herd arrived in our garden

January 2000
Enfant Terrible Arrives

The main farmhouse where we lived and where the herd arrived in our garden

May 2000
Elephant Safari lodge opens

The Elephant Safari Lodge opens it doors

March 2003
6 Months in Baghdad

Lawrence Anthony leaves for Baghdad, March 2003

April 2004
Rescue of baby Thula

Cared for 24/7 by our dedicated rangers in our guest room

June 2004
Francoise & Lawrence get married

After 17 years of life together, Francoise Malby and Lawrence Anthony marry.

September 2006
Babylon's Ark

The book Babylon's Ark is published

October 2006
United Nations Earth Day Medal

Lawrence Anthony receives the United Nations Earth Day Medal for his work in Baghdad

December 2006
Opening of our Luxury Tented Camp

Our Luxury Tented Camp opens.

November 2007
Numzane Dies

Numzane the herd's dominant male dies

May 2008
Fundimvelo added to Thula Thula

2008 Kwa Zulu Natal Parks Board, now Ezemvelo, gives us the rights to drop the fences and take over with the adjoining community land of Fundimvelo, adding a further 1000ha to Thula Thula game reserve.

March 2009
The Elephant Whisperer

By Lawrence Anthony was published in English (now translated into 12 languages)

August 2009
Heidi Poached

Poaching of our last rhino  Heidi, a female white rhino

Oct/Dec 2009
Sub Label
Thabo and Ntombi arrive October & December 2009

The arrival of our two rhino orphans arrived. Thabo arrived first,followed by Ntombi.

January 2010
Gobisa

Gobisa is introduced as the herd's dominant male

March 2010
Thula Thula partners with neighbours

A partnership with neighboring land owner’s increases Thula Thula with a further 1500ha

June 2011
Mkhulu Dam

Mkhulu dam (means grandfather in Zulu and named after Lawrence) was built on the Fundimvelo land. This was Lawrence spiritual place where he would meet his elephants.

March 2012
Farewell Mkhulu

Lawrence Anthony passed away at the age of 61

March 2012
Paying respect to Lawrence

The elephants march to the main house to pay their respect to Lawrence after his passing

March 2012
The Last Rhinos published

The Last Rhino was published

April 2012
Honorary Doctor of Science Degree awarded

Lawrence was posthumously awarded honorary Doctor of Science degree by College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science

May 2012
Thula Thula Rhino Fund

The Thula Thula Rhino Fund was created as a non-profit organisation by Francoise, to raise awareness and for anti-poaching actions for the protection and conservation of rhinos.

October 2012
Beginning of the contraception treatment of our male elephants

Thula Thula has reached its maximum capacity in terms of habitat for the growing herd.

March 2013
Elephants Return

The elephants march to the house on the anniversary of the death of Lawrence, exactly same day and same time as precedent year.

Octobr 2013
Anti-Poaching Protection Measures

Horn infusion with poison and indelible dye for Thabo and Ntombi as additional protection against poachers

March 2014
First Rhino Sanctuary in KZN

The Thula Thula Rhino orphanage is created, as the first rhino sanctuary in Kwa Zulu Natal

March 2014
Return of the Elephants

The elephants return for the 3rd consecutive year to mourn Lawrence. Same day and the same time as the two previous years.

July 2015
South African Conservation Fund

Creation of the South African Conservation Fund by Francoise Malby Anthony, as the Thula Thula non-profit organisation, to raise funds for the expansion of the land for our elephant’s habitat.

June 2016
Elephant Walk

Birth of our 29th elephant., Themba, which means faith and hope, a symbol for hope in the African elephant crisis and the heavy poaching in Africa, killing one elephant every 15 minutes.

August 2016
Dehorning

Dehorning of Thabo and Ntombi as poaching escalates in Kwa Zulu Natal

February 2017
Attack on Thula Thula

Attack of the Thula Thula rhino orphanage by poachers, killing two young rhinos.

July 2018
Francoise's Book

The sequel of The Elephant Whisperer, written by his wife Francoise, “An Elephant In My Kitchen”, is published and becomes a bestseller.

March 2019
Trophee des Français de l’etranger

Francoise receives the Trophee des Français de l’etranger in Paris at the Ministere des Affaires etrangeres.

March 2019
German Book Release
May 2019
Mona & Lisa Arrive

Arrival of two female rhinos, Mother and daughter, Mona and Lisa, in the hope of increasing rhino population at Thula Thula

June 2019
French Book Release

The release of the French version of An Elephant in My Kitchen

August 2019
Rhino Dehorning & GPS Collar
September 2019
The Elephant Whisperer French Book Release
September 2019
UK Book Release

An Elephant in My Kitchen released in paperback in the UK

September 2019
USA Book Release
January 2020
Chinese version of the Elephant Whisperer released
January 2020
Dutch Version of An Elephant In My Kitchen and The Elephant Whisperer released
January 2020
Baby rhino Lisa, born to Mona, passes away
March 2020
Birth of baby rhino

Mona surprises us with the most unexpected birth of baby Sissi.

March 2020
Pandemic closes ThulaThula’s doors

South Africa in total lockdown due to Coronavirus. Thula Thula closes its doors to guests.

July 2020
Birth of a baby hippo

Juliet our hippo gave birth to her third calf, that we named Jo

October 2020
Rhino Dehorning

Rhino dehorning every 14 months as part of our anti-poaching measures.

October 2020
Thula Thula Elephant Land expansion

Beginning of the first phase of our land expansion program.

November 2020
US paperback version of An Elephant in my kitchen released
January 2021
Frankie the Matriarch passes away

The sad passing of Frankie the matriarch

January 2021
Savannah's Arrival

The first Cheetah back on Thula Thula since 1941

March 2021
Savannah is released

Savannah was released from the boma to roam free in the game reserve.

May 2021
Marula takes over as matriarch

Marula, Frankie’s daughter, has taken over as Matriarch of Frankie’s family.

October 2021
Mona & Sissi dehorned

Proactive anti-poaching measures to protect our Rhino

October 2021
Historic Land Merge

Thula Thula private game reserve and the UBIZO CPA signed an agreement to join their land for the purpose of a greater conservation land.

November 2021
Wildlife Land Expansion

Another step forward in making the Thula Thula Land Expansion a reality.

December 2021
Thabo & Ntombi Veterinary Procedure

Fertility tests and OPU (Ovum Pick-Up) procedure performed

December 2021
Rambo's Arrival

Introduction of a new dominant male rhino.

February 2022
Medaille de Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite

Francoise is awarded the prestigious Medaille de Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) for her work in Conservation in South Africa.

July 2022
Ashley, a 2 year old German Shepard joined the K9 Anti Poaching Unit
Ashley K9 Anti Poaching Unit German Shepherd
September 2022
Launch of Francoise new book The Elephants of Thula Thula
January 2023
All five rhinos where dehorned, Thabo, Ntombi, Mona, Sissi and Rambo
February 2023
Heli the Hippo was born and named in memory of Heli Dungler
March 2023
Chinese version of "An elephant in my Kitchen"

Chinese version of "An elephant in my Kitchen" released March 2023

May 2023
Resorts & Retreats Award 2023
August 2023
Marula the Matriarch collared 14 August 2023
Rangers collaring Matriach Elephant named Marula
October 2023
Iphi, born 20 October 2023 - died 5 November 2023
October 2023
Nandi Collared - 20 October 2023
January 2024
Stuka, A 5 year old Belgian Malinios joined the K9 Anti Poaching Unit
Stuka K9 Anti Poaching Unit Belgian Malinios