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Newsletter Novermber 2011

White Elephant Newsletter

November 2011


Hello White Elephant friends,


As 2011 is nearing the end, herewith a newsletter from a slightly different angle: News about the daily challenges, achievements and events pertaining to not only the lodges but also to our wildlife and the daily conservation challenges.


Although rhino poaching has been in the headlines for a while now, touch wood, we have had no rhino poached but protecting these endangered and rare species from extinction has become a real challenge. We have had two new born black rhino calves this year and incredibly, we have had 57 sightings reported by our guides and guests for October alone. With the continued support of Brothers Safaris, we have also managed to microchip, ear notch and collar one of the sub-adult bulls (born on White Elephant since their re-introduction in 2008 as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project). Thank you Colin, Jackie, Suzan and wildlife vet Dr Peter Brothers for allowing us to action these vital procedures to manage and conserve our black rhino. During this ‘Veterinary Safari’ we also managed to immobilize and re-collar ‘Lucky’, one of the seven vasectomised elephant bulls vasectomised by Disney World’s Elephant Population Management Project team in 2009, who had outgrown his radio collar.


Our elephant population, too, has been faced with a great many challenges. ‘Buga’ the old matriarch (of the A & B cowherd) has been exceptionally protective these past months causing some landowners and rangers great anxiety with her mock charges and typical ambushes. This behaviour has caused controversy amongst decision makers as to what actions should be taken. Our advice to minimise risk to guests and staff: Elephant cowherds should always be treated with the utmost caution as they can be extremely unpredictable and suicidal in defence of their young. Removing the oldest female (such as ‘Buga’) from a cowherd is not recommended, because ‘aggressive’ behaviour as observed in ‘Buga’ is normal when there are young calves in the cowherd. ‘Buga’s’ behaviour will have been taught to the other females in the herd and so her ‘problem’ behaviour will most likely be replaced by the next matriarch. 


Ngani, our exceptionally big elephant bull with magnificent tusks, sadly broke off his right tusk in 2010. Although aging, this magnificent gentle giant is one of the few real big tuskers still alive to date. For how long?


Questions have also been raised about the sustainability of the herds (grown from 17 individuals in 1997 to almost 60 in 15 years) on limited land. Can the land sustain so many elephants for much longer? What are the answers? One ‘solution’ is the creation of more space through the incorporation of the Pongolapoort Nature Reserve, Phongolo Nature Reserve, Royal Jozini Big Six and the Lubombo Spine Corridor TFCA as part of the reserve range expansion and community conservation initiatives through the Space for Elephants Foundation


We had a very good game capture season with 846 Impala, 338 Blue Wildebeest and 64 Nyala successfully captured and relocated to other reserves in August.


The summer rains were late this spring with our first thunderstorm bringing a downfall of 26 & 50 mm this last weekend (30 Oct, 1 Nov), and so the much anticipated lambing and sowing season of our vast herds of impala and sounders of warthog will begin. As I write, our head ranger Adriaan Crous announces on the radio his sighting of the first litter of piglets.


The alien plant invasions have become a huge problem, especially the purple prickly pear (Opuntia stricta). Originating from one ornamental garden specimen from way back in the 1920’s, this pest plant has in recent times spread across our reserve, despite biological (prickly pear moth Cactoblastis cactorum and cochineal Dactylopius opuntiae ) and chemical (MSMA) control measures initiated more than 10 years ago. Its pretty yellow flower develops into a deep purple fruit readily consumed by birds and vervet monkeys (as well as the elephants). The seeds are then distributed, germinate and grow new plants all over the reserve. Although the fruit makes a wonderful ‘Schnaps’ homebrewed by Leeuwspoor’s patriarch Karl W Kohrs (born in 1931), intensive efforts for the eradication of the prickly pears have resumed.


Tiger fishing season is now at its peak with some excellent fish - up to twenty fish per day per rod weighing 1.5 to 2 Kg – being caught. Contact Stephanie at reservations for our Tiger fishing packages and other specials on offer. Below find more information on the competition currently on Facebook.


Warm Summer regards,

Dr Heinz Kohrs and the White Elephant team


PS: We invite you to experience our dedicated team, great lodge, excellent cuisine and exceptional eco-activities available in one of the most pictures and the oldest proclaimed (1894) game reserves in Africa.


White Elephant sunrise/sunset Photo Competition!!                



Send a picture of a sunrise or sunset that you have taken, share the picture on Facebook to get votes and stand a chance to win one of the following prizes:

First prize: An all inclusive 2 nights FREE accommodation at White Elephant Safari Lodge for you and a partner.

Second prize: A discount of 50% on accommodation booked at White Elephant Safari Lodge and Bush Camp.



What you must do to enter:

Email your photo of a beautuful sunrise or sunset (the picture could’ve been taken at White Elephant or anywhere else), to together with your name, where you are from, when the picture was taken and a small description of the photo (example: Piet Smit, South Africa, 21 August 2011, sunrise over the majestic Lebombo Mountains). The photos will then be loaded onto our facebook page in the competition album. It is then up to you to get the most likes for your photo because the photo with the most votes (likes) wins the prize. In order to vote for a photo our page needs to be 'liked' first. Share the photo on your wall to get your friends to vote for your photo. Anyone can vote for any photo if they think it deserves to win.


Terms & Conditions: Photo's only to be entered once. You can enter only two photo's per person for the competition. The competition closes for entries on the 27 of January 2012 and the winner will be announced on the 1st of February 2011. The decision is final. Entries to be emailed to only, please include your contact number in the email. Please do not vote for a picture by writing on our wall, as it will not count. Only the amount of 'like's will count. No ex-employees or current employees of White Elephant are allowed to enter the competition. Valid photo's must be sent in a JPEG or PNG format in order to enter the competion. Prize is valid for 6 months. White Elephant reserves the right to use the photos entered in our marketing and on social media.

At White Elephant life is a celebration; a celebration of the moments, of the music and harmonies of nature, of simplicity and beauty, of passion from the soul.


“A Celebration From The Soul”


Owned by the Kohrs family, White Elephant is pioneering the “space for elephants” initiative in the Pongola Game Reserve and offers an intimate glimpse of Africa and the challenges facing wildlife conservation today.  

For more details, enquiries & online reservations, you can also go onto our website

Follow us on our exciting new facebook page for regular updates, sightings and news: White Elephant Safari Lodge & Bush Camp.


From the White Elephant team


RESERVATIONS   Tel: +27 (0) 34 413 2489  Fax: +27 (0) 34 413 2499 

Email:  or


WHITE ELEPHANT SAFARI LODGE DIRECT   Cell: +27 (0) 82 945 7174 (AH)  

Fax:+27 (0) 86 656 7394   Email:

THE KOHRS FAMILY   Heinz Cell: +27 (0) 83 255 0742  

Debbie Cell: +27 (0) 82 852 5531 

Fax2email: 086 620 4777 Email:

P.O.Box 792, Pongola, 3170,  KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

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© Copyright 2010 White Elephant Lodge CC





Buga mock charging

Opuntia in flower

Opuntia flowers

Opuntia’s purple fruit & cochineal

Opuntia infected with Cactoblastis

Sunset Boat Cruise

Sunset Competition!


Lucky when vasectomised

White Elephant Bush Camp



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