Over the past month of lockdown, Jabulani Safari Lodge in Hoedspruit has welcomed an orphaned albino elephant into its existing elephant herd.

“We have started the integration of orphaned albino elephant, Khanyisa from HERD,” said MD and Owner, Adine Roode. HERD is South Africa’s first dedicated elephant orphanage. “Lockdown has provided a gift to allow us to do a steady and slow integration without life's regular interruptions.

Orphaned elephant Khanyisa at HERD with Jabulani owner Adine Roode. 

“Our team decided that during lockdown we would increase our presence on social media, for both Jabulani and HERD, and in doing so, we have been very open in sharing Khanyisa’s daily activities and her integration with the herd,” said Roode.

Dung samples are taken from baby Khanyisa and the rest of the elephants every day to assess their stress levels, although the labs that provide the analysis are not able to provide real-time results. The lodge is looking forward to once again having that information at hand.

With no tourists visiting, the lodge has had to make arrangements for funding of the conservation of its elephants.

“It has always been part of our business model that every guest staying at Jabulani contributes to the expenses associated with caring for the herd,” explained Roode. She added that to replace the lack of tourist income they had encouraged fostering the animals and had set up an Elephant Crisis Fund on its Facebook page.

“We will also be setting up some exciting virtual activities, which we will make commissionable to agents too.”

Although the lodge has been closed over the past weeks, staff have been kept busy, with the elephants becoming an inspiration for many working there. “We laughed together; we prayed together; we are a family with the primary objective of giving everything to the best care possible for these incredible animals in our care,” concluded Roode.

The lockdown team at Jabulani