The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence

Thula Thula Elephants –

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild is a phenomenal account of animal conservation in South Africa. “ Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to protecting the world’s endangered species. Then, he 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 didn’t take them.”

Thula Thula
Elephant Family Thula Thula – South African Nature Reserves

This graphic story about the elephant world is captivating. It’s an education on the behavioral characteristics of wild elephants, poaching, interesting Zulu traditions and superstitionsimimoya emibi (evil spirits), muthi (traditional tribal medicine), Ovombo tribesmen, sangomas (herbalists) – and interaction between animals and humans in the deep South African bush.

South African Buffalo Thorn Tree (Wag-‘n-Bietje) – Daniela Ruppel
Aerial View Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve – Wikipedia

Thula Thula is near famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in Mpumalanga Province (“place where the sun rises” in Zulu). Hluhluwe Imfolozi is on the outskirts of Durban in KwaZulu-Natal Province. I frequented Imfolozi during a 2017 stay in the Province. The park is “world renowned for its animal conservation efforts”. In the past, the reserve was Zulu King Shaka’s private hunting grounds. Today, it has the “largest population of white rhino in the world”.

South African Nyala – Kjerski Holmang


“One of the best aspects of The Elephant Whisperer is the way Anthony describes his perspective and efforts in understanding and communicating with the herd. He creates a meaningful bond with the wild elephants in a way that previously was not well documented.” Poaching Facts


Lawrence and Francoise – Thula Thula

The history, emotions, challenges, and escapades of these sensitive, intelligent creatures are a lesson for all. The bond that develops among the entire wild elephant herd – matriarch Nana, dominant bull Numzaan, Mabula, Marula, Mandla, Nandi, Franki, Indodana, ET, Thula – Anthony, his like-minded associates, and Thula Thula staff is inspiring. I highly recommend this book!


  1. suemtravels

    In addition to emotional life and death episodes with the elephants, the book details them crashing a fancy garden party and gobbling up all the goodies, using the reserve’s luxury swimming pool, fires and floods, and harrowing experiences with poachers and local Zulu tribesmen. Of course it made me homesick for South Africa…

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