Winner of the Best Conservation Lodge in KZN 2023

Thula Thula has been recognized by LuxLife Magazine as the most dedicated conservation lodge in Kwazulu Natal for 2023, and were awarded the “LuxLife Magazine Resorts & Retreats Award ” – Read the full article below:

Thula Thula Private Game Reserve (Thula Thula) is a 5,500-hectare wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the conservation, protection, and survival of endangered species. Set up by the late Lawrence Anthony, the reserve is now run by his wife, Francoise, who tells us more about the animals and their fight for survival as the sanctuary celebrates success in the Resort and Retreat Awards 2023.

Situated in Zululand, South Africa, just two hours from Durban and one hour from Richards Bay, Thula Thula Private Game Reserve is a luxury safari destination where game rangers share their incredible knowledge of the bush during exciting game drives whilst visitors observe elephant, rhino, buffalo, hippo, leopard, and a spectacular variety of other indigenous species, great and small.

With its unique atmosphere, stylish décor and superb cuisine, Thula Thula offers a choice of exclusive accommodation between the Elephant Safari lodge, a renowned gourmet destination, and the luxury Tented Camp, which offers an authentic African bush experience in the heart of Zululand. Both provide very unique and different experiences. The reserve is also the home of the special herd of rescued elephants made famous in the best-selling book, ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ by the late Lawrence Anthony, who passed away in 2012. Today, Thula Thula is run by his wife, Francoise, who continues Lawrence’s legacy with all conservation projects and the running of both lodges, along with her loyal team of 50 employees. Francoise has also written the sequel of ‘The Elephant Whisperer, An Elephant In My Kitchen’, published in July 2018, and her second book, ‘The Elephants Of Thula Thula’, was released in September 2022.

“This trilogy has been of great benefit to our international reputation as dedicated nature and wildlife conservationists,” Francoise explains. “This is our story, describing the behind the scenes of running a game reserve, with all its endless challenges and rollercoaster of emotions. It is also a love story with the unique relationship and trust created within the herd. They were written with the purpose of creating awareness to the challenges that face conservation and to the plight of the endangered African wildlife.”

Bringing awareness of the vanishing wilderness and the urgent necessity to create more space for wildlife, not only in Africa, but everywhere on the planet, in order to protect them from extinction is Francoise’s passion, and she has dedicated her life to conservation so that further generations will be able to see an elephant, a rhino, a cheetah, or a lion, and many other endangered species in the wilds of Africa.

Thula Thula has been in existence for 25 years and 80% of its dedicated staff base had been with the reserve since the beginning, all of them employed from the local communities. Upliftment and empowerment of each individual with special training in the hospitality and admin department and in the game reserve for nature and wildlife conservation has helped to create the most loyal and dedicated team, who all have developed a true passion for the company and who value their jobs and share the same vision of growth and evolution of Thula Thula.

“Their willingness to learn and grow is what I look for,” Francoise enthuses. “I am very proud of my staff and management. They all strive to excellence and they are an asset to Thula Thula. We have a large amount of returning guests, from all around the world, and the fact that they still meet the same staff and management team always fills our guests with joy.”

Recently, Thula Thula Private Game Reserve gained notable recognition for the excellent work it does in conserving and protecting endangered species throughout the world, being named Most Dedicated Conservation Lodge 2023 – KwaZulu-Natal in this year’s Resort and Retreat Awards.

Now, 2023 looks very promising and Francoise tells us that a movie is being made of Thula Thula, based on the book by Lawrence, with preproduction having already started and filming due to commence early next year.

“I have hope that this movie will inspire international visitors to visit Thula Thula and our famous herd of elephants,” she says passionately. “The story of our herd is a tale of survival. So is the story of Thula Thula, humans, and animals.”

Source: LuxLife Magazine