After an 8 hour drive from Johannesburg (we decided to do it in one go rather than overnight which is what we usually do on long trips) this was a most welcome sight as we walked back into the main lounge after an absence of 9 years. Aside from the size of the orphaned rhino calves, who have grown into huge adults, and the palpable loss of the presence of Lawrence, almost everything else is still the same. It is so wonderful returning to a place where the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be the mantra of François, the owner.
Our accommodation was certainly spectacular and we had two HUGE beds so that we could spread out without being cramped. Not that we got to spend too much time here as there was much to see and do in and around the camp, and of course, on the game drives where we were grateful to spend time with their very special elephants.
This corner became my office where, seeing there was no tv in the room, I could work after dinner.
Not one but 2 huge beds! I am assuming that this was NOT the honeymoon suite.
This is what we had come to see. The very special herd of 28 elephants that are resident on the property. This herd has grown from the original 7 rogue pachyderms that were rescued by Lawrence and brought here to KZN. Elephants that no one wanted and were going to be shot because of their purported temperament. But over the years they seem to have come to the realization that are cared for and loved and have reflected that back on the humans that they interact with.
The pool, seen from the bar area of the main building. A tad cold for an evening dip, but my wife took the plunge the following morning after breakfast and declared it to have been ‘refreshing’.
With social distancing constantly front of mind and with COVID-19 protocols in place, the tables for breakfast and lunch had enough space between them so as not to make the guests feel stressed or uncomfortable.
The interior of the main building. Seeing that elephants play SUCH an important role in the wildlife of Thula Thula, it is only fitting that the focal point is this elephant statue.
What better way to end off a busy day of eating and game drives than to share stories around what is locally known as ‘bush tv’. With the hypnotic flames lulling us to sleep and the knowledge that an early morning start was a requirement, bed was foremost on our minds after dinner.
Just one of the many spider webs that I found covered in early morning dew. It almost looks like a lacework of art. Sometimes it pays to look where you are placing your feet.
Time to head out on a morning game drive. It was misty in the early mornings and you can just see that in this image.
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