Our Next Eco Safari Adventure dates are:
April 21st to May 2nd, 2018
June 28th to July 9th, 2018
Call Rochell Goodrich immediately
for more information and to book your Eco Safari!
Phone: (818) 330-9528
The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) is an international, non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of the vital partnership 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 sites, ~ 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 get the full itinerary and FAQs about our next Eco Safari!
SAMPLE ECO SAFARI ITINERARY
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 2018 ECO SAFARI ITINERARY:
APRIL 21st – ARRIVE CAPE TOWN: Your adventure begins! Your Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) host will meet you at the Cape Town Int’l Airport and bring you to the Cape Town Hollow Boutique Hotel, with time to settle in and relax.
We’ll join up for dinner at Gold Restaurant, with an African menu in a festive courtyard setting, with live drumming and Mali puppets.
(You may want to arrive a day early, so you can take the Blue Bus for a grand tour of the city. Jumping on and off at your discretion, you can visit the famous wharfs, seaside shops and restaurants.)
APRIL 22nd – ORIENTATION, TABLE MOUNTAIN, and GROOT CONSTANTIA: While breakfast is served, we’ll get together for an orientation to the concept Lawrence Anthony called “Cooperative Ecology™.” Our main purpose in conducting this educational safari is for you to come away with a much deeper understanding of this concept and your vital partnership with the natural world; thus, throughout your Eco Safari, your hosts and guides will be incorporating this principle into all you experience and learn, and this meeting is an important step in that process.
After breakfast, our local guide, Nur Edries, will take us up the spectacular cable car ride to the top of this famous landmark, with its sweeping views of Cape Town and its surrounds, and its one-of-a-kind ecosystem, unique in all the world.
Next, during our City Orientation Tour, we’ll learn about the fascinating history of this amazing city, stopping for lunch in the Bo-kaap district known for its brightly painted houses, ethnic qualities, and quaint cobbled streets. In the late afternoon, we’ll head to the famous GROOT CONSTANTIA winery for a tasting tour.
There are a wide selection of ethnic restaurants for you to choose from for your dinner tonight.
APRIL 23rd – CAPE POINT NATURE RESERVE: Located at the southern-most tip of the African continent, this is one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of South Africa. We’ll have lunch at Calpa, a local eatery that specializes in fresh seafood, and then visit a thriving colony of Antarctic Penguins at close range from elevated boardwalks, whose protected beach is nestled in a sheltered cove.
In the afternoon, we’ll begin our drive up the beautiful seaside Garden Route and stay at the A-1 Njalo Hotel.
APRIL 24th – Aquila Game Reserve and Caledon Spa and Hotel: We’ll be up early today to drive to the famous Aquila Game Reserve where we’ll have a full day’s adventure. After breakfast, we’ll enjoy our first wildlife viewing drive to see the “Big 5” (African elephant, lion, Cape Buffalo, leopard and rhino), with a delicious lunch at their beautiful facility.
Continuing our trip up the Garden Route to the Caledon Spa and Hotel, we’ll look forward to sinking into their natural hot springs and luxuriating in their wonderful massage and spa treatments. Dinner at their savory restaurant and a good night’s rest for all!
APRIL 25th – Zorgfontein Wildlife Reserve: After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll continue on this scenic route, stopping for lunch at one of the local favorites, Albertinia restaurant.
We’ll settle into the beautiful Knysna Log Inn where we’ll be staying for the next 3 nights. We’ll watch the sunset from the East Head, a stunning, natural site that rises on both sides of an inlet like sentries to guard the inner lagoons while dramatic ocean waves crash against the rocks.
Dinner at Café Mario’s, known for its great Italian food.
APRIL 26th – OUDTSHOORN ADVENTURE TOUR: After breakfast, we’ll depart for a full day of excursions at the extraordinary Cango Caves, the Cango Ostrich Farm, and the Cango Wildlife Ranch Tour, stopping for lunch at the locally celebrated Turtles Restaurant.
Choose from several interesting local restaurants for dinner.
APRIL 27th – TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK: Today we’ll drive to Tsitsikamma Nat’l Park, a stunning area that encompasses a marine reserve, deep gorges and local vegetation such as the Big Tree, a towering yellowwood. It is home to a wide variety of small mammals, including bush pigs. After lunch at the Cattle Barron, we’ll visit the famous Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary. The lions, tigers, bears, wolves and other large carnivore living here were rescued from illegal or abusive situations. The sanctuary’s elevated walkway is more than 1.5 miles long and spans numerous natural habitats, making it possible to view many of the rescued animals up quite close.
APRIL 28th – MAYIBUYE WILDLIFE PRESERVE: After breakfast, we’ll head to the George Airport for our flight to Durban, where we’ll drive directly to Mayibuye, a game preserve the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization (LAEO) created 5 years ago in partnership with a local tribe to help the Zulus obtain a better life, economically and educationally, and to move them away from an “industry” of poaching to an industry of eco tourism. David Bozas, LAEO’s Mayibuye co-founder and Director, will personally brief us about this unique collaboration, which was recently named a “Model Program for Wildlife Conservation and Economic Empowerment” by the President’s Cabinet of South Africa. While there, our group will participate in an afternoon of “voluntourism” for the Zulu children – activities that help to enhance their lives.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy a South African “Braai” (barbecue) under the stars with David and our International Executive Director, Yvette Taylor. Yvette will brief us on some of LAEO’s exciting projects in Africa and around the world.
After dinner, we’ll drive back to the lovely beach town of Umhlanga Rocks and settle in to our hotel in the heart of this hip shopping and eating hub.
APRIL 29th – Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve: This morning, we’ll walk to one of the most prestigious South African hotels, The Oyster Box for a sumptuous breakfast. Their extravagant menu offers everything from eggs, bacon and omelets to exotic fish and meats, breads and pastries, a huge variety of cheeses, and tasty side dishes you may have never seen before.
After breakfast, we’ll head up the Dolphin Coast to Thula Thula, the wildlife preserve created by Lawrence Anthony and his wife, Francoise, and settle into our tastefully appointed cabins. This afternoon, we’ll take our first game viewing drive into Thula Thula’s reserve with our expert game rangers, dedicated to our safety, comfort and education. Teeming with wildlife, Thula Thula’s land was the private hunting grounds of King Shaka. An historic meeting between Shaka and his father was held on a river bank there that is credited with the start of the Zulu nation.
Meet at the Elephant Bar for cocktails and enjoy a welcome celebration dinner with our game ranger hosts.
APRIL 30th – THULA THULA: Early morning bush walk. With your guide, follow the open trails while learning about local flora and fauna on the reserve. Encounter animals on foot and learn how to track spoor.
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, take a trip to the nearby Zulu village to meet the resident Inyanga (herbal medicine healer and diviner) to learn about the medicines she uses and get your future told. You may be surprised at just how accurate her divination of you is!
Our Cabin Camp meal menus are designed by Francoise Anthony, an award-winning Cordon Bleu chef who has created a fascinating French and African fusion menu for the discerning palette. With any luck, we’ll be joined by Francoise for at least one meal and treated to stories about her extraordinary life in the African bush.
In the late afternoon, we’ll head out for another game-viewing drive to a different area of the reserve, with a break for “sundowners” – drinks and snacks atop a hilly vista to enjoy the beautiful sunsets of the area. Make sure to bring your camera to capture all the extraordinary wildlife sightings!
A campfire dinner with your new friends will complete another extraordinary day of your African adventure.
MAY 1st –
Early morning bush walk to a different area of the reserve. With over 650 different species of birds that have been sighted at Thula Thula, you’ll be amazed at the incredible variety of their plumage, calls and behavior.
This morning we’ll move to the tented camp for our final night at Thula Thula. Hold tight to your breakfast muffins. A troop of monkeys comes through regularly, looking to steal your food!
Mid-morning, LAEO’s reptile and amphibian expert, Nick Evans, will brief us on his important work. Nick is called from all over South Africa to rescue snakes and amphibians from places where they would otherwise be killed, and he releases them back into the wild. As unbelievable as it may seem to some, it is likely that you’ll experience an increase in your own care for, or at least tolerance of these often maligned but extremely important-to-the-eco-system animals after experiencing
his enthusiastic, entertaining and knowledgeable presentation. His care for these animals is truly infectious!
After a relaxed lunch on the verandah overlooking the glistening pool and surrounding bush, we will convene in the convention center to wrap up our Cooperative Ecology course, share new- found knowledge, and discuss future applications of this principle in your life back at home.
Late afternoon, we’ll head out to find Lawrence Anthony’s legendary herd of wild elephants with whom he had such a remarkable relationship. After rescuing this troubled herd from certain death, they befriended him, accepted Thula Thula as their new home, and have returned to his house on the anniversary of his death each year for the past 5 years. It is not uncommon that our game rangers are able to get quite close to this magnificent herd who have come to emanate the peace and tranquility of this magical place.
This evening, we’ll meet at the Marula Bar for cocktails before heading to the campfire to enjoy our final night with a special dinner and performance of authentic Zulu warrior dances by local villagers around the bonfire. Share your magnificent wildlife sightings and adventures of the day with fellow travelers as we celebrate newfound friends on a continent like no other.
Snuggle into your luxury tent under a toasty comforter in a four-poster bed, with the sounds of wildlife at night in the African bush.
MAY 2nd – TRAVEL DAY: Good Morning! Undoubtedly, you will have been awakened by the “bush chorus alarm clock” of birds and monkeys welcoming the new day. After one last morning bush walk, our game rangers will collect your bags while you enjoy breakfast in the Safari Tented Camp lounge. We’ll transport you back to King Shaka International Airport in Durban, for your flight home or on to other destinations, with valuable new knowledge, and memories to treasure and share for 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.