Call Rochell Goodrich immediately for more information and to book your Eco Safari! (818) 330-9528 or email her at Ro@TheEarthOrganization.org
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) is an international, non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the vital partnership for survival we all have with the natural world. LAEO’s many activities include providing outstanding Eco Safaris to South Africa. No need to fuss with creating your own itinerary! Braided into the adventure is education from environmental experts on such issues as endangered species, wildlife conservation, effective anti-poaching programs, etc. A highlight of the trip is 4 nights at the exclusive private game preserve called Thula Thula (pronounced Toola Toola) – a World Luxury Hotel Awards Finalist – a project created by our founder for the benefit of the local wildlife and indigenous tribes. Review the Eco Safari Itinerary below for more info. Each trip is unique, but the following list contains usual activities included:
~ 11 nights in South Africa
~ 4 nights at the exclusive, private wildlife preserve Thula Thula, 3 nights in Cape Town at the Cape Town Hollow with beautiful views of Table Mountain and a variety of interesting and educational historic sites, and 3 days travel up the Gold Coast of South Africa, stopping at a variety of spectacular locations including a private reserve to see lions.
~ 3 meals per day at the reserves
~ Breakfast and lunch each day (except arrival) in Cape Town
~ Ground transport
~ 2 wildlife viewing drives and/or bush walks per day while at Thula Thula
~ Tour guide and professional game rangers to ensure safety and comfort
~ Scheduled side trips to points of interest
~ One day of “voluntourism”, helping us improve the quality of life and environment for a local Zulu village
~ A portion of your trip is tax deductible as a donation to support our non-profit wildlife conservation work.
~ Does NOT include international air fare to and from South Africa
Call or email us to find out about our next Eco Safari!
History of Thula Thula
Thula Thula is situated on the historic, former private hunting grounds of King Shaka, the legendary warrior who created the Zulu empire and famously defeated the British. The first historic meeting between Shaka and his father, which set the stage for the creation of the Zulu nation, took place at a bend in the Nseleni River at Thula Thula.
During apartheid the property was owned and operated as a hunting lodge by a Dutch family, who eventually hunted out all of the elephant in the area and decimated the wildlife and ecosystem.
In 1998, Lawrence Anthony and his wife, Francoise, purchased the property with the intent of helping the local Zulus learn how to utilize, support and protect the natural resources of the area through eco-tourism. He reintroduced elephant to the area and, as a result of his conservation activities, Thula Thula has seen a tremendous resurgence of the indigenous flora and fauna.
Thula Thula is now a unique safari destination and wildlife sanctuary. Home to the “Big Four” (Elephant, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, and Leopard), it also has an abundance of other wildlife: giraffe, zebra, crocodile, nyala, kudu, springbok, jackals, monkeys, baboons, bushbuk, warthogs, and much more, with over 600 species of birds identified.
Daily game drives and/or bush walks are part of your Eco-Safari package, providing amazing opportunities to photograph the extraordinary wildlife around you.
The local Zulu culture will enchant you. The staff are warm, friendly, and attentive to your comfort and safety, as you are pampered in the 4-star luxury lodge and cabins, and the 4-star luxury tented camp. Enjoy the captivating music of a Zulu choir during dinner, or the thunderous drums accompanying dramatic warrior dancers around the campfire.
There are eight, 4-star luxury cabins, with beautifully appointed rooms and bathrooms, and decks and windows overlooking the African bush. At the end of each wonderful day, sink into a comfy four-poster bed with luxurious sheets, a down comforter, and mosquito netting. (Thula Thula is in a malaria-free area, so there is no need for shots or vaccinations unless you intend to travel to other destinations where they would be required. However, it is completely up to you and your own personal physician as to whether you choose to be vaccinated prior to your trip.)
The eight, 4-star luxury tents are built as permanent structures on solid foundations a few feet above the ground. Each tent has its own private viewing deck, fans, mosquito nets, and luxurious en-suite bathrooms with a Victorian bath and outside shower.
Relax with a swim in the pool, or a good book and a snooze in a comfortable hammock.
Thula Thula’s amenities include:
- 9 luxury, 4-star cabins
- 8 luxury, 4-star tents
- two swimming pools
- two lodges
- outdoor and indoor dining areas
- gourmet meals prepared by a Cordon Bleu chef
- a library
- a gift shop
- indoor and outdoor bars
- a distinguished wine cellar with local and international wines
- a professional masseuse is available upon request
- game rangers accompany you on game drives and bush walks, dedicated to your comfort, safety, and education
- a beautiful conference facility for up to 30 people for meetings, seminars, and events
- A local Zulu village to explore and interact with the natives. If you wish, you can get your future told by the local Sangoma (witchdoctor)
In the late morning, you’ll see meandering Kudu or dashing monkeys and babboons on the grass while you gain a greater understanding about what is happening environmentally on our planet. Short mid-morning seminars are made available by the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization with experts in their fields, for those who are interested, who provide factual information about environmental problems and their solutions.
This information will raise your awareness about endangered species and conservation issues, and will help you to become part of the solution in the choices you make in your daily life.
Each meal prepared for you at Cabin Camp by Cordon Bleu chef, Francoise Anthony, and her staff is a culinary delight. Their cuisine is their pride: a fusion of the most delicate fare combined with exotic flavors, created with passion and imagination. Tented camp is traditional South African fare with Candlelit dinners are served beneath the stars, by the pool, or by the bonfire, for a true African experience.
SAMPLE OF A PAST 11-NIGHT ECO SAFARI ITINERARY:
JUNE 17TH: ARRIVE CAPE TOWN: Your adventure begins! You’ll be picked up by our host from the airport and driven by van to your beautiful hotel, with time to settle in and relax. Enjoy a quiet dinner at your hotel and get a god night’s sleep. Or for those up for an evening out, we’ll be going to Camps Bay Beach, one of Cape Town’s most popular destinations, filled with trendy cafes, bars and restaurants.
JUNE 18TH: TABLE MOUNTAIN: Today, we’ll take the cable car to the top with its sweeping views of Cape Town and its surrounds, and its one-of-a-kind ecosystem, unique to all the world. Then tour the magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on the eastern slopes of the mountain to see flowers and trees unique to this region, as well as exotic flora from around the world. Dinner in one of Cape Town’s many restaurants from traditional South African to international cuisine of all kinds.
JUNE 19TH: CAPE POINT NATURE RESERVE: Located at the southwestern-most tip of the African continent, this is one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of South Africa. As a part of our day trip, we’ll see where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet, spot ostriches roaming the beaches, and, at close range from elevated boardwalks, view a thriving colony of Antarctic Penguins living in their own protected cove.
JUNE 20TH: CAPE WINELANDS: Boasting nearly 200 wine and grape producers, Stellenbosch was the first region to establish a formal route among the world-renowned South African wineries, and has gone on to become one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. 148 farms dot the vine-swept landscape, many of them historic, with gorgeous Cape Dutch manors, gardens, hotels and fine-dining restaurants. (Optional) If you would prefer, spend the day relaxing by the warm Indian Ocean waters on Camps Bay Beach, or take a day trip to tour Robbens Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned prior to becoming South Africa’s most well-known humanitarian and the country’s President.
JUNE 21ST: THULA THULA: We’ll fly to King Shaka International Airport in Durban and then drive up the Dolphin Coast to Lawrence Anthony’s exclusive private wildlife preserve – Thula Thula. After settling into our luxury tents, we’ll take our first game viewing drive into the African bush with our expert game rangers, dedicated to our safety, comfort and education. Teeming with wildlife, Thula Thula’s historic land was the private hunting grounds of King Shaka.
After the afternoon’s adventure, we’ll meet at the Marula Bar for cocktails and enjoy a welcome celebration dinner with our game ranger hosts.
JUNE 22ND: Early morning bush walk (optional) with a break for coffee and biscuits. Each trek explores a new area of the reserve, which is so large that, in the 4 days that you are here, you won’t be able to see all of it. Your game rangers will point out specific and important ecosystems and characteristics of the animals who make their home in this area, while at the same time allowing you to take in and enjoy the immensely pleasurable natural beauty of the reserve.
Breakfast in the beautiful, open-air lodge. You never know what wildlife will wander by – elephant, kudu, giraffe, zebra, bushbuck, rhino, and baboon are just a few of the possible sightings. After breakfast, we’ll gather in the lodge for a short briefing by a conservation expert about endangered species and some of our international projects to address these challenging issues.
1:30pm: Enjoy a relaxed lunch on the verandah overlooking the glistening pool and surrounding bush.
Watch out for the monkeys! A troop comes through regularly, looking for a way to steal your food!
Afternoon: Free time to enjoy Thula Thula and the amenities. Take a dip in the pool. Enjoy a refreshing massage (extra charge). Relax in a hammock with a good book while you listen to the sounds of wildlife in the African bush.
4:00pm: Game viewing drive to a new area of the reserve. You’re bound to see the legendary herd of wild elephants that befriended Lawrence – as told in his bestselling book, The Elephant Whisperer. It is not uncommon that your game rangers will be able to get quite close to the herd who have come to emanate the peace and tranquility of this extraordinary site. The bond they had with Lawrence was so strong that they have returned to his home on the anniversary of his death for the past 4 years.
7:00pm: Meet at the Marula Bar for cocktails before heading to the campfire to enjoy a South African BBQ, and share your stories of the day of magnificent wildlife sightings with fellow travelers.
JUNE 23RD: Early morning bush walk. With your guide, follow the open trails while learning about local flora and the smaller fauna on the reserve. Encounter animals at safe distance on foot and learn how to track spoor.
Breakfast in the open-air lodge.
Late morning: Free time to enjoy Thula Thula.
After lunch, take a trip to the nearby Zulu village to meet the resident Inyanga (herbal medicine healer and diviner) who will read your future. Learn about the medicines he uses. You may be very surprised at just how accurate his divination of you is! We also bring supplies in for the Zulu children, like school supplies, clothes, games, etc., and, if appropriate, do a “voluntourism” project to, in some way, improve their lives. Examples of projects we’ve done in the past: painting a room in the orphanage; putting together playground equipment; teaching the young children the importance of not littering and then picking up trash with them around the village.
Late afternoon: Game-viewing drive to a different area of the reserve with a break for sundowners. Head out to find the legendary herd of wild elephants at Thula Thula with whom Lawrence Anthony had such a remarkable relationship. Make sure to bring your camera to capture all the extraordinary wildlife sightings!
7:00pm: Cocktails at the Elephant Bar and enjoy authentic Zulu warrior dances by local villagers during dinner around the bonfire corral.
JUNE 24th: Early morning bush walk to a different area of the reserve with a break for sundowners. You never know what you’re going to see. Perhaps this time the rangers will locate the rhinos that were orphaned as babies by poachers and whom we hand reared and re-released back into the wild. Giraffes love to poke their heads out above the high trees to observe what is going on and you can see them as part of the scenic views from high hills. Perhaps a herd of kudu or wildebeest will show off their elegant horns and long faces for you. And zebra will surely pose in all their striped glory. Or see a lazy leopard draped over the branches of a tree, or a grumpy herd of Cape buffalo will wander by. Make sure to bring your camera to capture all the extraordinary wildlife sightings!
In the afternoon, we will have a short briefing by Karen Trendler, the head of our baby rhino orphanage. Karen is acknowledged as the world’s expert on baby rhino rehabilitation. Her work to ensure the survival of the rhino species through the rescue, rehabilitation, and re-release back into the wild is the most successful of its kind in South Africa. She has personally returned over 2,000 injured or abandoned animals back into the wild.
Drinks at the Elephant Bar and enjoy authentic Zulu warrior dances by local villagers your farewell celebration dinner around the bonfire for your last night at this remarkable and magical place.
JUNE 25TH: TRAVEL DAY: After one last morning bush walk, our game rangers will collect your bags while you enjoy breakfast in the Safari Lodge. Your Host will transport you back to King Shaka International Airport from where we fly to Nelspruit Airport/Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport and then a short ride to your luxury hotel adjacent to Kruger National Park. Settle in to your very comfortable surroundings in the beautiful Springbok Lodge and enjoy a relaxed dinner with your fellow travelers.
JUNE 26TH & 27th: KRUGER NATIONAL PARK: Located in the northeastern corner of South Africa, Kruger is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes the “Big 5”: lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo. Hundreds of other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks. Mountains, bush plains and tropical forests are all part of the landscape. For 3 days, we will take game drives into different areas of this vast park to view and capture pictures of an abundance of wildlife in their natural habitat.
JUNE 28TH: TRAVEL DAY: After breakfast, our bags are collected, and we leave Kruger to fly, via Johannesburg, back home after an unforgettable trip, with memories and new knowledge to last a lifetime!
Thula Thula’s abundant wildlife and vegetation are stunning.
Experienced rangers will guide you on exciting safaris in open Land Rovers through the unique diversity of this ancestral land to encounter buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, giraffe, hyena, crocodile, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, nyala and a spectacular variety of other indigenous species, great and small.
Bird life is prolific with over 400 identified species, including raptors.
Walk in the footsteps of Lawrence Anthony and see the famous herd of wild elephants that befriended him.
After each extraordinary day, sit around the bonfire with a glass of wine and share stories of the day’s adventures.
Our game rangers will regale you with stories of this legendary man, and their experiences with animals in the bush.