Two of the rescued elephants, just before sunset, enjoying a friendly moment as we looked on…

Two of the rescued elephants, just before sunset, enjoying a friendly moment as we looked on…

The very best and most romantic travel is travel that gets you outside and in contact with creation, wild animals, and the most beautiful parts of earth. If you're not already convinced to book a South African safari, read the following story.

If Over 10 years ago, Lawrence Anthony (author of The Elephant Whisperer) adopted a herd of dangerous, abused, “rogue” elephants to prevent them being killed.  He gave them a home on his reserve and for days at a time would live with the herd, talking to them, singing to them, and rebuilding their trust in humans and the world. Over the years the elephants grew to love and respect him and found a real home at Thula Thula, his reserve. Mr. Anthony loved animals and was totally fearless when it came to protecting them. He risked his life battling poachers and facing the elephants themselves during their first, angry months at Thula Thula.  In 2003, during the height of the war, he flew to Iraq to attempt a rescue of the animals at the Baghdad Zoo. When Mr. Anthony died in March of this year the entire herd of 20 elephants - led by the two matriarchs who knew him best – paid him a special tribute. They arrived at his home – marching single file - and stayed for two days, paying their respects, before they solemnly left.   While we don’t know exactly how the animals knew that he was gone, it’s clear that they somehow sensed that they had lost a friend.

 Elephants and other animals have an ability to sense the world around them and form deep relationships that scientists are only just beginning to quantify and are a long way from understanding or explaining.

We’re often skeptical of heartwarming stories that circulate on the Internet but this one is true. We met the elephants and the Anthony family last year while researching our Africa book and have seen Francoise tell the above story in interviews.