Tembe Elephant Park

    The popular live webcam at Tembe Elephant Park features a constant flow of elephant and other wildlife that drink and chillout around a scenic waterhole. The park is in Northern Maputaland in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal bordering Mozambique. The countryside has a wide range of flora including dense woodlands, rare sand forests and wetlands. The park covers an area of 300 sq. kilometres

    The park was established in 1983 to protect the elephants that moved freely between KwaZulu and Mozambique. The elephants were being severely poached in Mozambique during the Mozambican war (1975-1992) and suffered from setting off landmines and wire snares set for smaller wildlife

    The park now has 250 elephant and is famous for having a large number of big tuskers ( elephant bulls carrying over 45 kg of ivory per tusk) there are apparently 8 tuskers in the park. Some of them can be seen almost daily on the live webcam. The waterhole is topped up with water flowing from a pipe and one of these tuskers prefers to suck the clean water coming out of the pipe and become very frustrated when the water stops flowing or is only a trickle. The most famous Tusker in Tembe was Isilo who died of natural causes in 2014. His tusks were stolen and thought to be 60 kg per tusk.

    There are another 400 elephants of the same rare gene pool in the Maputo Special Reserve in Mozambique and there is a plan to create a corridor between Tembe and the Maputo. According to the map the corridor has been demarcated. I assume it still has to be fenced which is very costly

    The park opened to the public in 1991 and was developed by Tembe Tribal Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Tembe Elephant Park is owned by the Tembe tribal community and managed by a government conservation agency. The Tembe tribe also own and manage the Tembe wildlife lodge. The Tembe people have tremendous pride in the reserve and testament to this is there have only been 5 elephants killed by poachers in the last 30 years

    PProtected Elephant populations increase rapidly and with the Parks relatively limited area, overpopulation would be a huge problem where the elephant will destroy the habitat and since 2007, the park managers have been forced to put all its females on contraception. The tribe’s leader King Mabhudu Tembe has suggested that 26,000 hectares could be added to the park.

    The park has the “Big Five” namely Elephant, Rhino, lions, leopards, and buffalo. There 27 species of mammals including Black rhino, Buffalo, Bushbuck, Bushpig, Common Reedbuck, Elephant, Giraffe, Grey Duiker, Hippo, Impala, Kudu, Leopard, Lion, Nyala, Porcupine, Red Duiker, Side stripped jackal, Steenbuck, Suni, Warthog, Waterbuck, Wild dog, White rhino, Wildebeest, Zebra. And over 340 bird species.

    The diminutive and rare suni antelope around 45 cms to the shoulder live in the sand forests of Tembi. However, numbers are declining due to the Nyala population increasing and destruction of the forest by elephants. The introduction of lion and wild dogs is another threat to the little suni

    It is quite diffulcult managing the animals in this relatively small park and the wild dog pack in the park is no exemption. Two years ago, the park came close to losing their African Wild Dog population. The pack was exiting the park and hunting domestic livestock of the Tembe Community. A solution has been agreed on which includes monitoring the dogs with GPS collars and compensating the farmers for their dead stock.

    1700 km South West of Tembe Elephant Park is Addo Elephant Park c close to Port Elizabeth where many of the cow elephants are tuskless due to the fact the herd originated from just 11 elephants in 1931 and the hunters will have spared the valueless tuskless elephants . There are now 600 elephants in the park. In the early 2000s eight bull elephants were introduced into Addo park from Kruger National Park. Only 2 of these bull elephants have survived. In September 2019, a bull elephant named Tembe was translocated from Tembe National park and sadly he has also died last month (September 2020). During a veterinary examination after his relocation, he was in poor condition, which was believed to be due to a combination of maladaptation to the new habitat, poor quality of the vegetation due to the drought and conflict with established resident Addo bulls.

    The translocations of big tuskers from Tembe continues. On the 20th of October 2020 two tuskers have arrived at Buffalo Kloof a private game reserve of 20,000 hectares. On the 14th October, another Bull elephant from Tembe was moved to Somkhanda Community Game Reserve joining the 13 elephants that arrived from Nambiti Game Reserve in 2016.