There is a place in Africa where the wild elephants still roam. The legendary Ivory Route where the great tuskers still tramp their ancient pathways through dense sand-forest and tall yellow grass…a 300 square kilometre reserve between Zululand and Mozambique, home to Africa’s largest elephants as well as the smallest antelope, the suni. Tembe Elephant Park
The third largest game reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Tembe is located in Tongaland, in the north east region of South Africa, on the Zululand-Mozambique border.
The Tembe elephant is a remnant of the last remaining free ranging herd in the country, that used to roam seasonally between
Mozambique and Maputaland. The dense sand forests of the region provides an ideal safe haven for the largest of the African elephants, and hosts the biggest herd in the province.
To compliment the Big 5 are serval, hippo, giraffe, nyala, kudu, zebra, eland, hyena, jackal, water buck, reed buck, red duiker and warthog, along with a host of other smaller mammals.
One of the smallest and most elusive of the buck species, the suni antelope, can be found here. The suni is a rare and shy species of buck found in southern Africa.
Tembe is made up of a collage of grassland, woodland, swampland and sand forest and can be explored up close on game drives or from discreet hides overlooking watering holes.
A Tusker is an elephant whose tusks exceed 100lbs (or 45.45kg) and the three largest Tuskers in southern Africa can be found here. Isilo is by far the largest, and is estimated to be about 50 years old, with tusks weighing in at 55 to 60kg. Standing a staggering 3.2m high, Isilo is estimated to weigh about 6,500 to 7,000 kg.
“During the early 1900s, great tuskers were the norm in countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the south-western corner of Ethiopia, southern Sudan and the grassy plains of Tanzania and Kenya, but through hunting this has diminished to less than 40 bulls in the whole of Africa today. The best place in Southern Africa to see ivory elephants, in my opinion, is Tembe Elephant Park. Nowhere else have I seen so many bulls with such good ivory.” Dr Johan Marais, author of Great Tuskers of Africa and In Search of Africa’s Great Tuskers
Visit Tembe National Elephant Park for more information.