Little Amanzi, The Water Prince

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Above: “Linri telling the little water prince that his wish is her command.”| All images from Elephants Alive

Since early last month, we have been actively following the story of little Amanzi, the latest elephant orphan to find its way into the care of the incredible team at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) – a centre founded by the owner of Camp Jabulani, Lente Roode.

During our visit to the centre last year, we spent time with Lammie, the lamb often seen playing with the other animals, as well as the rhinos and cheetahs that have found a new home and a second chance at life here in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, a short drive from Camp Jabulani in the Kapama Private Game Reserve.

Amanzi found his way to the centre through the help of Elephants Alive, a non-profit organisation whose work with elephants includes tracking and studying their population dynamics and habitat use.


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The Story of Amanzi


Mike Kendrick, for the Conservation Action Trust, recounts the moment on Tuesday, 16 February 2016, when an elephant calf was rescued from a dam at Phalaborwa Copper, Limpopo:

“A couple of people from Electrical Services at Phalaborwa Copper, Limpopo had reported the stranded calf to the Wildlife Supervisor, Johann McDonald. Inspection of the dam revealed numerous scuff marks from elephants trying to bend down to rescue the calf were still visible. Johann thought that the elephants left the area around 5h00-6h00 when human activity around the mine usually begins to increase. Elephants form such strong family and maternal bonds that one can only imagine how distressed the baby, its mother and the herd must have been. Johann and his team got the baby out of the water and loaded him onto the back of a pick-up truck to try and reintroduce him to the breeding herds which were still in the vicinity. Twice they tried reintroducing him with the first herd’s matriarch pushing him off his feet. It was now around midday and the little calf began looking weak and in need of re-hydration. In quick response to the emergency call, the Elephants Alive team met Johann and the calf at the gate of Phalaborwa Copper.” 

[Visit Mike Kendrik’s website for more images of the rescue.]


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“Brothers Johan Bezuidenhout and Quenton du Plessis were the rescuers, who deserve a unanimous and global round of applause! There is such kindness in people,” said HESC.


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On 22 February, Elephants Alive confirmed…

He is getting the best veterinary care but as the experts have all warned, you have to take it day by day. With your prayers we hold the faith that little Amanzi will not only become another success story but like the ‘Water’ which is his name in Zulu, become a symbol of hope. Yes, a positive conservation story of solidarity, compassion and care as the conservation world is in need of this. We also believe that he has the potential to become a national symbol of hope for our land which is currently caught in the grips of a very bad drought. Water is life and hope. Like Amanzi, we all depend on drops of mercy to keep us going. Amanzi went for his first extended walk in the bush with Stavors yesterday as the previous day’s blazing sky was covered in blankets of mercy. It was a beautiful day.”


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Watch the video of young Amanzi spending quality time with none other than Mother-sheep, Lammie, posted by Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre on Saturday, February 27, 2016


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Sadly recent updates show that the little man not faring as well as hoped…

“Amanzi is trying his best to be a fighter. He is losing more fluids than what he is gaining them as he doesn’t want to accept the bottle at times. Dr. Peter Rodgers still has him on a drip. Despite his weakened state, his spirits pick up when he sees water. Please hold him in your thoughts as we struggle to keep him going. We will provide an update after our visit tomorrow.

“Please note that he is never alone. He has a caregiver constantly with him over a 24 hour period. Caregivers rotate their shifts every 12 hours so that he doesn’t get too attached to any one person. Elephant calves are known to suffer from depression if any one person has to leave for an extended period of time. Amanzi also has his sheep companion.

“We would like to thank Palaborwa Copper for immediately addressing the potential danger that their sumps hold for elephants during this drought. A grid has been placed over the pump next to the raw water pump station to prevent any other neonates, like Amanzi, from falling inside.”


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“This is a bittersweet time for us at HESC, as we remember only too well when another tiny baby elephant arrived at the centre over 10 years ago. His story was almost identical to this one. He thankfully pulled through to become a magnificent and healthy animal, and is the namesake of the Camp Jabulani elephant herd. His name is Jabulani.”

How you can help…

HESC cares for several cases like Amanzi’s and really relies on the goodness of donors to support the needs of the animals that come through their doors. Stay abreast of updates from their work by following their Facebook Page or donate to:

Discover more about elephants and their love of water, as inspired by our water prince Amanzi, in our blog, The Call of the African Waterhole.

What You Should Really Pack For Your Safari

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“So much of our profound dissatisfaction in modern life arises because we live in increasingly disconnected ways. It is time for us to regain our connection to life.” – Jack Kornfield

Travel – the act or process of travelling from one place to another. A perfectly good description but surely too simplistic. Travel is different things to different people and there are so many ways to go about it. To us, travel is much more than just an act. It is an opportunity. A chance to, as Jack Kornfield says, regain our connection to life, to test our minds, to see things differently. 

You can visit new lands and never leave the room of your villa or you could explore every inch – meet the people and experience their food and customs. But still, you may not truly connect. To do so requires something further. It requires dropping the wall between you and the rest of the world. It requires an open mind. Only you can do this. Travel is merely the facilitator, presenting you with the opportunity.

We invite you to let travel change you, to open your mind. To use it to connect rather than escape. One way is quite simply changing the way you pack for your journey.


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With its philosophy of ‘Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact’, the global social responsibility project, Pack for a Purpose, encourages travellers to make a lasting impact in the communities in need around their travel destination, by taking along supplies to donate to schools or medical clinics.

Many of our hotels and lodges in Africa have joined the initiative and welcome guests to get involved – namely:


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On a recent visit to Bushmans Kloof in South Africa, we took along supplies to donate to Elizabethfontein Primary School, just north of Clanwilliam. Bushmans Kloof has been supporting the school in various ways over the years and sent out a request for guests to bring small items that could positively impact on the lives of local children and families. Items like pencils, colouring books, dictionaries, musical instruments, deflated soccer balls with an inflation device, a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff and band-aid plasters.


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Principal, Annatjie Dames, together with Bushmans Kloof’s HR Manager, Pieter Van Dyk, showed us around the school as we dropped off our supplies and met the students – many of whom stay in the village at Bushmans Kloof. To be able to not only make a difference in the lives of others, but to witness it in person, that is what it is to connect. That is the connection that travel enables and that ultimately transforms us and the world.

Elizabethfontein Primary School currently has 15 teachers, seven hostel staff members, and 277 pupils, 160 of whom are weekly boarders at the hostel. Principal Annatjie has done wonders in growing the school and improving the facilities as well as the academic, cultural, entrepreneurial and environmental education. Their goal is to equip children with the practical skills to ensure a future of self-employment in an environment where jobs are difficult to come by.


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When it comes to packing, we encourage you to think beyond the camera gear and fleece jackets – and the other safari essentials listed in guides such as these from Londolozi and Camp Jabulani. Find out more about how to pack for a purpose here.


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Read more about Bushmans Kloof in our blogs:

The Little Wisdoms of Bushmans Kloof and 10 Questions with the Bush Man of Bushmans Kloof

A Reminder of the Majesty of the Rhino

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People have often rebuked the phrase “fighting for peace”, pointing out its irony and making us reconsider the ways we go about achieving the ends we hope for. Perhaps it’s a term best suited for marketing slogans or for those of us without the powers of pacifists like Ghandi and Mother Theresa. But there is space for every kind of voice, each helping to play a part.

In the Vietnam War, protest was pivotal in its demise, but so were soft folksy acoustic rock ballads. In Apartheid, action was just as essential for its fall, but so was the unifying and educated leadership and inspiration of individuals like Nelson Mandela. A man who represented both sides – equanimity and volatility, peace and war.

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Images above: James Tyrrell | Londolozi

Similarly, there are two ways to handle what is being called the war against Africa’s rhinoceros – let’s say its name in full, it might be one of the last few times we still can while this great being is around. The war that is rhino poaching.

1. Fight. Action. Initiatives like Rhinos without Borders and the anti-poaching units at work in the reserves of our African lodges – Camp Jabulani and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, the Great Plains Conservation with Zarafa Camp, Mara Plains and Ol Donyo, Londolozi and Morukuru with its Operation Pheonix.

2. Leadership and inspiration. Just look to the people behind these initiatives… people who have experienced rhino poaching and its effects on the ground in Africa, people like Lente and Adine Roode of Camp Jabulani and Dereck and Beverly Joubert of Great Plains Conservation, to name two.

There is space for every kind of voice…

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Above: Londolozi

As far as our voice is concerned, we hope to help by donating to the initiatives guided by these pioneers above and to share them with you, through the power of the digital universe. But we also hope to add some inspiration of our own… by way of reminding people why we are fighting for this creature to begin with. What is it about the rhinoceros that mesmerises us so?

A simple sighting of a rhino up close is really all the reminder you need. Londolozi is one such place where private anti-poaching patrols have been very effective in helping to protect the region’s rhinos. On safari at the reserve earlier this year, the wild presented us with a sighting that has stuck with me ever since. I wasn’t planning on seeing anything. Naively. So I took “the bad camera”. But since they say the best camera is the one you have with you, I thought I’d share the moment I captured with you here, to serve as…

A reminder of the majesty of the rhino


Fighters and Inspirers and all thing nice…

starting with New Lessons from Londolozi

“Seeing the rhinos together reminded me that the bush is always speaking to us… Despite my many years at Londolozi, I still learn something new every single day,” says Bennet Mantonsi, the Londolozi Tracker who caught this incredible footage of a male rhino courting and mating with a female.

Read more in Kate Collins’ “New Lessons and Mating Rhinos: How the Bush Surprises us Everyday“.


Rhinos Without Borders

If you haven’t been following the adventures of Rhinos Without Borders, read about it and the first stage of what is considered to be the world’s largest rhino airlift in “First Rhinos in Massive African Airlift Released in Botswana“.

Propelled by the Great Plains Conservation with the support of several partners, it is a mission to move 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana in order to save them from poaching and develop a new breeding nucleus. It is a project of hope for the rhinos of southern Africa. Find out more about in this Q&A with Dereck Joubert of the Great Plains Conservation or dowload a summary here.

First Rhinos in Massive African Airlift Released in Botswana

Rhinos await release in a park in northern Botswana after being transported from a crowded park in South Africa. Image: Beverly Joubert. Read more about Dereck Joubert in our blog, The Dignity of Dereck Joubert – 10 Questions.

A glimpse into the life of a rhino. And his lamb.

Founded by the Roode Family of Camp Jabulani, the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre has partnered with Africam to launch a new initiative called ‘Eyes on Rhinos’. After two poached, now-rehabilitated rhinos (Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell) arrived on their doorstep, followed by two orphaned baby rhinos, Gertjie and Matimba, more recently, the team urgently had to establish a rhino sanctuary at the centre to care for them. Enter the new Rescued Rhinos @ HESC.

Meet Gertjie

also known as little “G”, below, as he explores the outside world after arriving at the centre:



Discover more about the new initiative and how to help online and experience the live view Africam enables. Being able to watch over these rhinos at night as they sleep has deprived us of our own slumber… let us know about your experience. Alternatively, meet them face to face for a true understanding of the sublimity of the rhino and discover more about Lente and Adine Roode (sublime in their own right) in our blog, The Passion of Compassion at Camp Jabulani.

 Whether you’re a fighter or an inspirer…

in the war against rhino poaching, the accounts of the harm done to Africa’s rhinoceros make it hard to simply do nothing… No different to the Vietnam War, no different to Apartheid, the tales and images no different to those that came out of both. As the muses, we’ll take the cue to leave you with some inspiration from Camp Jabulani, through the lens of Black Bean Productions:

‘Eyes on Rhino’ – A short film for Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre from Black Bean Productions on Vimeo.