Thula Thula Reserve

Thula Thula, South africa

Pricing Varies


History of Thula Thula  

Thula Thula,  a family owned and operated private game lodge, is situated in the heart of Zululand, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

This 4500 ha, malaria free game reserve was established in 1911 and has been operational as Thula Thula since 1999. It is home to a wide variety of game like elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard, giraffe and birds.

Thula Thula, with its centuries of cultural and wildlife heritage, takes pride in tracing back its origin to the private hunting grounds of King Shaka, founder of the Zulu Empire. The first historic meeting between Shaka and his father (Senzangakhona), which set the stage for the creation of the Zulu nation, took place at the Nseleni River at Thula Thula. The Zulu name Thula Thula literally means peace and tranquillity.

Lawrence Anthony was an acclaimed conservationist and an international best-selling author. He received the United Nations Earth Day medal for his work in Baghdad. He is the author of three books : Babylon’s Ark, the incredible wartime rescue of the Baghdad zoo, The Elephant Whisperer, the extraordinary story of one man’s battle to save his herd, and The Last Rhino, the powerful story of one man’s battle to save a species.


Lawrence Anthony, The ELEPHANT WHISPERER

When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of “rogue” wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd’s last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn’t take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed, he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realise that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom. The Elephant Whisperer is a heartwarming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad account of Anthony’s experiences with these huge yet sympathetic creatures. Set against the background of life on an African game reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, it is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers and adventurous souls everywhere.




Thula Thula's Mission is TO EDUCATE AND INSPIRE

Volunteers will experience living in the African wilderness, sharing experiences with others, growing their skills and making a difference. Programmes will vary slightly throughout the year, as the challenges involved in wildlife conservation are constantly shifting and certain issues may receive more focus than others. Thula Thula offers a well-rounded program aimed at covering both the needs of the reserve and surrounding communities, as well as providing a comprehensive, hands-on learning experience for the volunteers. Volunteers will see themselves as “Assistant Conservation Managers”, as all the work done and data collected by them will be utilized by Thula Thula for conservation on the reserve.


Daily Activities Include: 

  • Bush walk: - A full day bush walk where we will focus on developing our new volunteers. The day will consist of basic survival skills, snake identification and handling, tracks/ tracking knowledge and overall safety in a large game area.

  • Bush Work: - Identification of indigenous plants and clearing of invasive plant species.  Road works (building water run offs and repairing dongas), fence line patrols, firebreak maintenance, litter clean up.

  • Reserve Research: - Game count, predator vs prey relationship/numbers.

  • Soil erosion, grass counts and veld management.

  • Conservation work: - Focusing on rare and endangered species of Thula Thula. Camera traps.  Advanced tracking, game reintroduction programme. Learn how to prepare and cook a traditional Potjie over the campfire while you share stories of the day.

  • Community upliftment: General work within the local community of Buchanana. Painting, conservation education.

  •  Anti-poaching: - Snare removal, firearm training, point patrols

  •  Survival practical: - Sleep out under the stars and survive off the land – taking only the bare essentials

  •  Elephant monitoring. Study the movements of the herd, their habits and general behaviour pattern (game drive)

  • Lodge and Tented camp: Morning bush walk focusing on bird identification followed by general maintenance and project work at the tented camp and main lodge.Volunteers will be assisted in preparing and cooking their final African feast and treated to traditional Zulu dancing.



The Thula Thula volunteers Academy is situated adjacent to our Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre, in a secure fenced area, with the most magnificent view over the whole game reserve and Mkhulu Dam, the favorite spot for Thula Thula's herd of elephants. Currently a maximum of 8 volunteers can apply per session, one of the volunteers being from the local communities on a complimentary basis.

Accommodation will be basic but comfortable, in 8 double tents, entirely lit by solar lanterns and wooden poles separate ablution area. Accommodation and all meals will be provided during your stay with us.


Accommodation will be basic but comfortable, in 8 double tents, entirely lit by solar lanterns and wooden poles separate ablution area. Accommodation and all meals will be provided during your stay with us.

meals Included:

  • Breakfasts will include Tea/Coffee and cereals.

  • Lunches will include sandwiches and fruit.

  • Dinners will be a variety of simple meals cooked around the camp fire.

  • Vegetarian and vegan meals will be available on request.



All of our conservation projects, as Wildlife protection and anti-poaching, the Thula Thula Wildlife rehabilitation Centre and our Land expansion project for elephant habitat, are financed through the Thula Thula Non-Profit Organization THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONSERVATION FUND. The THULA THULA VOLUNTEERS ACADEMY is a part of the SOUTH AFRICAN CONSERVATION FUND.

You can find more information at



Pricing varies upon length of stay and how many be will be traveling. 

What's Included:

  • All Accomodation

  • All Transportation

  • All Food

  • Extra Donation to Thula Thula Reserve and ELEI

What's Not Included:

  • Plane Tickets

  • Travel Insurance

  • Alcoholic Drinks


When booking flights, please keep in mind that the first day begins with dinner on Sunday and ends when we return to the hotel by Saturday. 

When traveling to another country, you may also need to contact your health care provider about any necessary immunizations as well as making sure your passport and possible visas are in order.