Africa – ROYAL BOND – Press Release

She has the courage and endurance of King Shaka Zulu’s legendary warriors. She has climbed the highest mountains and chosen extreme adventure over a conventional life. Annabelle Bond is the European face of Thanda: a royal woman who embraces the stuff of life.

Should you spot Annabelle Bond training at the gym, you’ll notice she has a rucksack on her back. In that rucksack is a pile of books. What titles, you might wonder. But it is the weight rather than the title of each book that determines its inclusion.

Loaded with weighty literature she proceeds to the treadmill, setting it at its highest elevation to toughen herself for her next mountain challenge.

Two centuries ago, treadmills weren’t conceived, but Southern Africa’s most famous monarch, King Shaka, put his warriors through 18th century-style training rigours. To toughen his troops, he ordered his men to remove their leather sandals and run barefoot over fifty miles of thorn- and rock-strewn bushveld.

There’s no doubt Bond would have risen to this test.

Woman were not recognised by King Shaka as being bold enough or strong enough to become warriors. But then he never met Bond.

A one-of-a-kind woman, Bond has shown men and woman worldwide what daring determination can achieve.

After climbing Everest (29,035ft) she single-handedly raised enough money to achieve her next goal of climbing the world’s seven highest mountains: Mount Elbrus (18,481ft) in Russia, Mount Kilimanjaro (19,336ft) in Tanzania, Mount Kosciusko (7,310ft) in Australia, Vinson Massif (16,067ft) in Antarctica, Mount Aconcagua (22,841ft) in Argentina and Mount Denali/McKinley (20,320ft) in Alaska.

On 10 May 2005, 360 days after setting out on her Seven Summit grail, Bond reached the final summit of Denali. She now holds the title of the fastest woman ever to conquer the Big Seven. At the same time she raised £850,000 for a cancer charity – the Eve Appeal.

Beautiful and bold, Bond is dedicated to making a difference to those less fortunate than herself in the world. “None of the society stuff interests me anymore,” she told David Walsh of the London Sunday Times.

“I have grown from a woman who was fairly fickle in her early days to something different. I still like to have a laugh but I will be at a dinner in London and I’ll be thinking, ‘Why are we talking about these trivial things?’

“What I have realised is that you can do things if you believe in yourself. Travelling and climbing mountains has given me a huge amount of self-belief. Not arrogance but an inner confidence. I now feel more secure as a person than ever before.”

Bond is true Thanda: a woman of depth, attractiveness and integrity, with the heart of a Zulu brave.