The name speaks of untamed Africa - where nature still holds sway and life beats to the ancient rhythms of a timeless continent. This is the Africa of Tembe Elephant Park, where the real Africa of the wild begins.
The park is situated in the sand forests of Maputaland, on the KwaZulu-Natal, South African boundary with Mozambique. Tembe is known and appre- ciated by only a select few visitors. Restricted access to the park means that few people have the opportunity to experience the majesty of Tembe's elephant population of 130 and the park's profuse diversity of flora and fauna.
The park protects the largest elephant herd an KwaZulu-Natal which is also the only remaining indigenous herd in the province. Tembe's elephants used to be South Africa's last free-ranging herd, at one time moving seasonally between Maputaland and Mozambique. Tembe's 300 km2 (190 sq. miles), comprise a mosaic of unique sand forest, woodland, grassland and swampland. Through reintroduction, Tembe now has a healthy population of mammal species historically known to have occurred here, including black and white rhino, as well as the rare and elusive suni antelope.
There is a certain "soul" about Tembe and you can feel its peace embrace you when you sit quietly at one of the game-viewing hides. Mahlasela hide is a particular favourite. It offers a clear view over one of the water holes frequented by the Tembe elephants.
One often senses the presence of elephants in the surrounding bush long be- fore they amble out in to the open to quench their thirst and wallow in mud baths. Patience will reward you with sightings of other wild animals cau- tiously making their way to the water for a drink.
Tembe is home to a profusion of wildlife including 130 elephant, 65 rhino, buffalo, leopard, serval, hippo, etc. Birding at Tembe is on a par with some of South Africa's prime birding spots. More than 340 species of birds have been listed, including the rare Rudd's apalis, Rufous-bellied night heron, Natal nightjar and the Woodward's batis.
Tembe Elephant Lodge offers you luxurious en-suite safari-style units, a swimming pool, guided 4 x 4 game drives and a beautiful hide.
Tembe Elephant Lodge is privately managed and offer guided tours in open safari vehicles. The camp comprises semi-luxury safari tents that blend unobtrusively with their natural surrounds and are tucked away in secluded areas around the camp. An open-air braai area lends itself to a rustic ambience and guests can enjoy campfire meals and the unforgettable experience of Africa under the stars. All amenities are catered for and tariffs include accommodation, meals, teas, coffee and light refreshments.
Daytime and evening game drives are conducted by an experienced guide and are included at no extra cost. Stay for one night or as long as you wish: there is an infinite variety of attractions in the Tembe Elephant Park and the surrounding Maputaland area. The Tembe experience will take you to a distant world of Africa as it once was - unspoilt, natural, and light years away from civilisation.
Activities and outings at Tembe include enthralling game drives at dawn along sand tracks that in ancient times formed part of an ocean bed and now wind their way through tangled sand forest; sunset-painted swamps where lala palms and thorn trees are silhouetted against a horizon streaked with mauve, dusty pink and hues of burnt orange smudged across the sky; elephants in the moonlight, and night skies shattered with shards of millions of stars.
Other excursions from Tembe includes bird watching at Ndumo Game Reserve, boat trips across the Kosi Lake system, snorkelling and scuba diving at prime dive venues, turtle watching along the coast from Kosi to Ponte de Oro (seasonal) and exploring Lake Sibaya and the coastal forests. Whatever you choose, we promise that your visit to Tembe will be the experience of a lifetime.