Tembe Elephant Park boasts a remote yet stunning location in Maputaland, South Africa, and offers a fantastic safari holiday experience. Home to some of the largest elephants in Africa, Tembe Elephant Park offers up close and personal encounters with these grey giants. The Park borders KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique and spans just over 74,000 acres of diverse habitat, including sand forests, thornveld, and wetlands. Established in 1983 to protect the elephants, the Park was developed and is co-managed by Tembe Tribal Authority and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Along with 250 elephants, Tembe is also home to the famous Big Five, tiny Suni antelope, and more than 340 bird species, making it an ideal safari destination in South Africa. Tembe Elephant Park has a landing strip for light aircraft, so those opting for a fly-in safari can arrange one with the Park. Alternatively, Johannesburg is just under seven hours away for those who enjoy road trips.
A tusker is a male elephant with tusks weighing over 100 pounds.
Yes, standard South African electricity is available at 220V 50/60Hz
Although remote, Tembe Elephant Park’s location provides a tranquil sanctuary to about 250 of the world’s largest elephants. The Park was established in 1983 to protect these gentle giants from the cruel ivory poaching trade during the civil war in Mozambique. Apart from viewing these beautiful elephants, safari-goers can expect to spot the rest of the famous Big Five. Lions, leopards, buffalo, and black and white rhinos call the Park home and make for an excellent safari experience.
Tembe Elephant Park is characterised by scrub, sand forest, and thornveld, which make it a premier birding destination in southern Africa. With more than 340 bird species in the Park, some endemic to South Africa, while others are tropical species, bird watchers are definitely encouraged to bring along their binoculars.
For ideal wildlife viewing opportunities, the best time to visit Tembe Elephant Park is during the dry season—from May to September. During these months, the resident wildlife tends to crowd around the available water sources to drink and bathe in the heat of the day. The wet season is between October and April, and it is when birding is at its best, and the migratory birds are present.
The ultimate safari experience at Tembe Elephant Park is by far the guided game drives on offer. The Park is co-owned and managed by a Tembe tribe, which means all game drives are conducted by a knowledgeable guide who grew up on the land. The elephants are familiar with the guides, which means that they are calm and relaxed around the open-air vehicles. On an incredible game drive adventure, safari-goers will not only encounter these impressive gentle giants but also spot the Big Five if they’re lucky enough. Buffalos, lions, leopards, and rhinos roam around the game reserve and add an exciting thrill to the overall experience.
For a cultural experience, safari-goers can immerse themselves and learn about the local culture and traditions of the Tembe tribe. As night falls, guests gather around the campfire in the boma and listen to the wild stories of tradition beneath the glow of the night sky. Lastly, a safari holiday to Tembe is incomplete without a unique birding experience guided by one of the rangers.
Tembe Elephant Park boasts exclusive accommodation for safari-goers. The safari tents offer seclusion and comfort in the heart of Africa, along with modern conveniences, to make any discerning guest feel right at home. The rates usually include two daily game drives, use of the facilities, and all meals.