Our Next Eco Safari Adventure date is:
June 30th to July 11th, 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 educational 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:
- 12 nights in South Africa
- 4 nights at the exclusive, private wildlife preserve Thula Thula,
- Fly into Port Elizabeth and travel west through a variety of interesting and educational wildlife reserves, geological sites, expansive vistas of stunning beauty, wine tasting, interesting foods while you travel by comfortable, air-conditioned van through the Garden Route of South Africa
- 3 meals per day at the reserves
- Breakfast and lunch each day (except arrival day in Port Elizabeth)
- 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 the children of 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 for any questions!
Space is very limited. Our safaris book up quickly.
We recommend you do not wait until the last minute to reserve your space.
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:
JUNE 30th – ARRIVE PORT ELIZABETH: We’ll meet up in the beautiful coastal town of Port Elizabeth, South Africa and get settled into our cozy accommodations for the night at the Forest Hall Guest House. Enjoy a “Welcome!” dinner and meet your fellow travelers to begin this extraordinary adventure.
JULY 1ST – Tsitsikamma Nat’l Park, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Knysna Log Inn: We’ll begin the day with an introductory briefing on Cooperative Ecology and an orientation as to how this trip will raise your understanding of this vitally important concept that all of the Lawrence Anthony Earth Organization’s (LAEO) work is based upon.
Mid-morning, we’ll begin our travel west on the beautiful Garden Route, beginning with Tsitsikamma National Park, a stunning region that encompasses a marine reserve, deep gorges and unique local vegetation such as the Big Tree, a towering yellowwood. The area is home to a wide variety of small mammals such as 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.
We’ll settle into the beautiful Knysna Log Inn where we’ll be staying for the next 2 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: Café Mario’s, known for its great Italian food.
JULY 2ND – CANGO CAVES, WILDLIFE RANCH, AND OSTRICH FARM: After breakfast, we’ll depart for the Oudtshoorn Adventure Tour, 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 restaurants for dinner.
JULY 3rd – CALEDON SPA AND HOTEL: After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll continue on this scenic route, stopping for lunch at one of the local favorites, Albertinia restaurant.
Continuing our trip up the Garden Route to the Caledon Spa and Hotel, we’ll look forward to slipping into their natural hot springs and luxuriating in their wonderful massage and spa treatments.
JULY 4th – 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.
Dinner at their savory restaurant and a good night’s rest for all!
JULY 5th – CAPE POINT NATURE RESERVE, DURBAN: 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 morning, we’ll begin our drive up the beautiful seaside Garden Route to visit the Penguins.
After visiting the penguins, we’ll drive directly to the airport for our flight to Durban and a short drive to the lovely coastal town of Umhlanga Rocks, with ocean views, trendy restaurants, and interesting stores.
JULY 6th – MAYIBUYE RESERVE: After breakfast, we’ll drive one hour to Mayibuye, a game preserve that The Earth Organization created 5 years ago in partnership with a local Zulu tribe to help them 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 with examples of how the CoEco concept underlies all we do and is the basis of our success.
After dinner, we’ll drive back to Umhlanga Rocks and our lovely hotel in the heart of this hip shopping and eating hub.
July 7th – Thula Thula Exclusive Private Game Reserve: After breakfast, we’ll head up the Dolphin Coast to Thula Thula, the wildlife preserve created by Lawrence and Francoise Anthony, and settle into our four-star tents. 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 Marula Bar for cocktails and enjoy a welcome celebration dinner with our game ranger hosts. Snuggle into your delightful tent in a four-poster bed with a down comforter and the sounds of wildlife at night in the African bush.
JULY 8th – 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!
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.
JULY 9th – THULA THULA: This morning our game ranger hosts will move our suitcases to the cabin camp at Thula Thula while we’re having breakfast on the verandah. Hold tight to your breakfast muffins! A troop of monkeys comes through regularly, looking to steal your food.
Early morning game drive 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 .
Mid-morning, LAEO’s reptile and amphibian expert, Nick Evans, with some of his rescued animals in hand, will brief us on his important work. Nick is called from all over South Africa to rescue reptiles 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!
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.
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 returned to his house on the anniversary of his death each year for 4 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 Elephant 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.
JULY 10th – THULA THULA: This will be our final day at Thula Thula, and we’ll enjoy an early morning and late afternoon wildlife-viewing drive. Watching the abundance of animals in nature there eating, playing and interacting with each other creates memories for each of us that will last a lifetime. Time, mid-day, to just relax by the pool, or in a hammock with a good book, or enjoy new-found friends.
We’ll end the day with a memorable African braii (barbeque) under the stars.
JULY 11th – TRAVEL DAY: Undoubtedly, you will have been awakened by the “bush chorus alarm clock” of birds and monkeys welcoming the new day. After one last morning drive, our game rangers will collect your bags during breakfast. 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.