Our community engagement

Thanda Safari and the Thanda Foundation has always recognised its role in partnering with its neighbouring communities in a range of job creation, educational and socio-economic upliftment programmes. These include Thanda’s flagship Star for Life education and HIV/AIDS prevention programme, the Inkanyiso Crèche project and a job creating, paper-making project. Thanda Safari staff members from these communities are offered further education and skills advancement opportunities.

The Thanda Foundation

The Thanda Foundation Trust was established to engage with the socio-economic, educational and developmental needs of the three tribal communities neighbouring Thanda in the Umkhanyekude District, as well as the preservation of Zulu culture. The Trust supports several community-based projects and serves as a fundraising vehicle for these projects, including the following:

The Nelson Mandela Statue Project

Renowned South African artists, Kobus Hattingh and Jacob Maponyane, were commissioned by the Thanda Foundation Trust to create a range of bronze sculptures of the late Nelson Mandela. This included a six-metre work of Mandela, created in 2004. It was placed in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, and was the first public sculpture of Mandela to be unveiled in South Africa. Proceeds from the sale of the Mandela statues are distributed to the Mvezo Development Trust in the Eastern Cape, birthplace of Nelson Mandela.

Part of the Thanda Foundation Trust

Inkanyiso Crèche Project

Thanda Safari is committed to supporting the youngest members of one of its neighbouring Zulu communities through the Inkanyiso Crèche, situated in the Esibhojeni area, close to the reserve. Assisted by donations from our guests, Thanda recently built the new crèche and provided a water tank and fencing for the playground. The crèche has 30 children aged between two and four years.

Part of the Thanda Foundation Trust

Elephant Dung Paper Project

The Thanda Foundation Trust, assisted by the Space for Elephants Foundation, together with funding from the National Lotteries Commission (NLC), has launched an elephant dung paper project in the town of Jozini in northern KwaZulu-Natal to contribute to employment and income-generation in the greater Thanda Safari community. The project empowers local communities, particularly women, to use elephant dung to make paper, which is commercially sought after worldwide.

Part of the Thanda Foundation Trust

Thanda Lions Football Team

The Thanda Lions Football Team or ‘Amabhubese’ (isiZulu for ‘The Lions’) predominantly comprises unemployed youth from the Thanda region. In addition to soccer coaching, it assists the players with personal development and education.

Part of the Thanda Foundation Trust

Football for Life

Since 2008 Football for Life has supported the development of women's football in the UMkhanyakude Region, where Thanda Safari is situated. The emphasis is on strengthening young women's health, self-esteem and position in society. Football for Life also has an academy programme for the development of talented female players, coaches, referees and administrators.

Part of the Thanda Foundation Trust

Community Liason Officer

The Thanda Community Forum includes representation from Thanda Safari’s three neighbouring communities: the Mandlakazi, Mdletshe and Ngwenya tribal authorities. The three full-time Community Liaison Officers, sponsored by Thanda, facilitate community engagement, initiatives and programmes.

Star for life

Star for Life, founded by Thanda’s owners Christin and Dan Olofsson, is a Thanda-led awareness, education and HIV/AIDS prevention programme that started in 2005. It now reaches over 150 000 children at over 100 schools in Southern Africa. It inspires young people to value learning, live healthy lives and achieve their dreams.


Thokazi Royal Lodge

Located about 90 minutes from Thanda Safari and in close proximity to the Royal Palace in Nongoma of the Zulu King, His Majesty King Zwelithini Goodwill kaBhekuzulu, is Thokazi Royal Lodge, the King’s privately owned guesthouse. Thanda proudly manages Thokazi Royal Lodge on behalf of His Majesty.


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