It rained and rained and they were happy. We were happy for them. South Africa has been caught in a four year drought. There was a cyclone up in Mozambique and the spin off from that was making it rain in Thula Thula. But even with the rain the rivers weren’t flowing yet. The ground was absorbing it all. The wet roads did limit our driving tours of the preserve, however. The preserve was the private grounds of Zulu King Shaka about one hundred years ago. Today it is a private 500,000 acre endeavor to care for African animals, some endangered, particularly rhinos. The Thula Rhino Orphanage has been caring for young rhinos whose parents are poached for their horns by filthy rich Chinese who think that the rhino horns have some magic sexual power…idiots. But with 25% unemployment in South Africa the Chinese have plenty of people who are willing to risk their lives to poach for them. The last night we were there two poachers attacked the Orphanage and killed to baby rhinos for their one inch horns. There was a world outrage and now the Orphanage is guarded by US Marines. Thula Thula has a wide variety of animals: elephants, rhino, gazelle, zebra, antelope, wildebeest, giraffe, velvet monkeys, nyala, impala, steenbok, leopard, crocodile, Cape buffalo and various other animals. We didn’t get to see them all; two days to cover 500,000 acres isn’t adequate. The acquisition of elephants at Thula Thula is documented in the book The Elephant Whisperer, by Lawrence Anthony. Nanna the matriarch of the elephants who was the first elephant at Thula is still there. Her “bargaining” with Anthony is a great tale. You will notice that some of the elephants have a crook in their tales…these are offspring of Nanna who also has the crook in her tale.
Evan and Muzi were our guides both for our morning walks and afternoon drives.