Global Business Awards 2023

Aug23159 Situated in Zululand, two hours away from the South African city of Durban, Thula Thula Game Reserve is the oldest private wildlife reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, built from a passion and vision for wildlife and nature conservation. To fund its efforts, the reserve serves as a luxury safari destination, welcoming guests from across the world to its two beautiful lodges, the Elephant Safari Lodge and the Luxury Tented Camp. In 1998, Thula Thula was established by Lawrence Anthony and his wife Francoise Malby Anthony, who were inspired to create a wildlife sanctuary where animals could roam freely. Lawrence sadly passed away in 2012, but his work is carried on today by his wife Francoise, a Parisian who has now lived in South Africa for 35 years. Committed to the conservation, protection, and survival of endangered species, Thula Thula dedicates its resources to taking care of its five rhinos, its family of elephants, as well as all the other animals and wildlife it accommodates. To ensure their continued safety and wellbeing, it seeks veterinarian assistance if an animal needs medical attention. It also invests endlessly in maintaining its fences, roads, and general infrastructure. To fund these necessary activities, Thula Thula has built two beautiful luxury lodges, where it hosts guests from all over the world. Its accommodation options boast a unique atmosphere, stylish décor, and superb cuisine. The reserve’s guests go on a safari with its experienced game rangers to discover an abundance of wildlife, including elephants, rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, hyenas, leopards, and many more. Thula Thula believes in the value of these offerings, since they drive the education and awareness of the public when it comes to the conservation, protection, and survival of endangered species in Africa. Thula Thula is equipped with a team of 50 employees, who mainly come from local rural communities and have been trained at the reserve from a young age, without any prior qualifications or experience. The team at Thula Thula are very much a family, with many members considering the reserve to be their home. A number of the reserve’s employees have worked their way up to management positions, having taken on leadership roles in each department. They are responsible for employing new recruits, training them, and helping them to achieve greater positions. Over the years, Thula Thula has told its story through three international bestselling books. The first of these was “The Elephant Whisperer”, in which Lawrence told the emotional story of how he saved a herd of seven problem elephants that were going to be put down because of their numerous previous escapes from other game reserves. Several years later, after Lawrence passed away, Francoise published the sequel to his book, titled “An Elephant in My Kitchen”. Last year, in 2022, her second book, “The Elephants of Thula Thula”, was released. These books tell an extraordinary story of the couple’s 25 years working with elephants and many other animals. Those who read them fall in love with both the wildlife and the people at Thula Thula and often travel the world to see the reserve for themselves. Currently, there are many challenges that private game reserves face when it comes to wildlife conservation, including lack of government funds, poaching, and huge costs of operation. For this reason, Francoise created a nonprofit organisation called the South African Conservation Fund, which allows Thula Thula to accept donations for its conservation work on specific projects. Any donation is a great help; the reserve would not be able to continue its work without sponsorship. From the very beginning, Thula Thula’s goal has been to grow, a dream which has truly become a reality. In 1998, the reserve started out with 1000 hectares of land. Now, it operates across 5500 hectares. Formerly a hunting ground of legendary Zulu King Shaka, the area boasts a unique diversity of landscapes, including riverine bush, savanna, and forest. Thula Thula’s expansion thus far has been indispensable to its growing herd of elephants. In the coming years, the reserve plans to keep looking for new land to increase its capacity further, and to fight the vanishing wilderness due to human encroachment. As a result of its outstanding work, Thula Thula has been awarded Best Private Wildlife Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, in the Global Business Awards 2023. We are delighted to congratulate Francoise and her team on this exceptional achievement and look forward to seeing what the future holds for Thula Thula. Contact: Francoise Malby Anthony Company: Thula Thula Game Reserve Web Address: Best Private Wildlife Reserve 2023 - KwaZulu-Natal