AN AFRICAN CLASSIC ENCOUNTER
It all started with one baby
elephant, who was rejected by his herd when he
was just three months old. Lente Roode, owner of
Camp Jabualni and founder of the Hoedspruit
Endangered Species Centre, discovered the calf
and took him in for help at the centre.
She named him Jabulani, “Rejoice”, and that
indeed describes Jabulani: always in the lead,
with bouncing gait and mischievous eye. Over the
years he adapted to the ways of his human
friends. All attempts to reintroduce him to the
wild failed. He thought of himself as one of us,
though in reality he needed his own kind.
All too soon the calf grew into a five year
old bull, and a unique opportunity arose to give
him a family of his own kind. A rather special
herd from Zimbabwe had to be relocated to South
Africa to ensure its survival. These elephants
had been trained, with patience and kindness, to
safely carry people.
The rescue mission was
launched by Lente Roode in March 2002
when Zimbabwe was preparing for an
election. She learnt that the future of
these elephants, and their handlers, was
in jeopardy when war veterans began
invading farms, including the game farm
on which this trained herd was located.
The rescue succeeded, and the herd and
its handlers arrived at Kapama. Anxiety
ruled the day. Jabulani was
introduced to the herd. To great relief
the Matriarch “Tokwe” immediately
adopted Jabulani as her own. He has
become part of this close family. He’s
their mascot, and their affection for
him is obvious, though they don’t let
him get too cheeky!
Today the herd consists out of 13
full-grown elephants accommodated at
Camp Jabulani on the Kapama Game
Camp Jabulani is the first to offers
a luxury elephant experience in South
Africa. Meet the herd on which this is
Each elephant’s name
reflects its personality:
Sebakwe – the largest
of the herd, is a “gentle giant”. Quiet and
passive, he’s a real gentleman.
Munyati – he’s quite a
complex character, but kind and gentle with
Mafuri – the most
handsome of all the bulls, he’s kind with
people, but a bit of a loner.
Joe – a large bull,
he’s very gentle, caring and consistent.
Jimmy – this bull must
have come from a very unhappy background. We
put in a special effort to make him feel
safe and secure, and he has rewarded us with
patience and acceptance.
Setombe – while she’s
the largest of all the females, she’s not
high in the matriarchal hierarchy. She’s
kind and gets on with all the females, but
prefers the bulls for company.
Semopane – she’s
cheerful, intelligent and charismatic.
Tokwe – this
11-year-old matriarch is the true leader of
the herd, A friendly character, she always
seems to be smiling, yet commands respect
from animals and people.
Lundi – the second in
the hierarchy behind Tokwe, she is the
“great aunt”, the disciplinarian, and highly
Fishan – the “joker”.
He’s very smart, with a great sense of humor
and always in trouble.
Bubu – this female’s
mother was poached. After a very solitary
upbringing, her happiest day was when she
joined our family.
Dande – the youngest of
the herd, she’s a bit spoilt, highly
intelligent, but adored by all.
Jabulani – “Rejoice”.
He does, and we with him!
JABULANI - Orphaned at just 3 months.
This is a story that touched the hearts of people all over the world.
Jabulani has entertained numerous guests with his antics; he has stood quietly
and listened intently to what royal guests whispered in his ear; he has become a
sought after celebrity for the media, both locally and internationally.
This little orphaned elephant not only enriched the lives of everyone who met
him, but - against all odds – embraced a new and strange life by accepting his
new human family wholeheartedly.