TRUNKS UNPACKED, THEY'RE HERE TO STAY!
Excitement levels at Khaya Ndlovu reached epic proportions last Friday as a family group of elephants, which includes a young male calf were released onto the Rietspruit Game Reserve.
Khaya Ndlovu Manor House opened commercially in 2009, forming part of the Blue Canyon Conservancy, which was home to a size-able herd of elephants. Thus Khaya Ndlovu, which directly translates to the home of the elephants was deemed an appropriate name for the lodge.
Sadly, however, in 2015 ego-driven politics triumphed, and the Blue Canyon Conservancy was split in two unequal parts with our original elephant herd having to take up residence on the bigger section, on the other side of the fence! We have endured a long, agonising wait for our elephant permits to be issued and to have elephants sating their thirst once again at the pan in front of the Lodge.
This is now a reality, and we excitedly welcomed the elephant family as they were off-loaded one by one from the capture vehicles in a super slick operation. Brent Leo Smith and his Painteddogtv team filmed the relocation live to subscribers in all corners of the globe, which was made possible thanks to super-modern technology.
“It was not all plain sailing though,” giggled Brent, after enduring a 700 km trip overnight from Phinda in Kwazulu Natal, which included a curfew altercation with the police! “It was well after midnight, and my team were slightly ahead of the capture trailer in our filming vehicle when the police waved us down for breaking the Covid curfew laws!”
Brent’s detailed explanation that they were trans-locating a family group of elephants and the permits were in the capture vehicle with the elephants was not swallowed by the cops. Instead, he was accused of smuggling cattle across a provincial border without the mandatory Foot-and-Mouth-disease permits! Brent’s earnest denials fell on deaf ears, until eventually he had no option but to open one of the trap doors on the roof of the trailer, imploring the policewoman, as he scaled the side of the trailer, not to shine her spotlight into the trailer. This only strengthened Mrs. Cop’s resolve that Brent’s team were rustling a herd of Ngunis. She clambered onto the top of the trailer and ignoring Brent’s warnings thrust her face into the trap door, poised to confirm her suspicions and make an arrest! Seeing an unfamiliar figure gazing down at him, the young calf threw up his trunk, trumpeting loudly at the astounded policewoman. The spotlight had disturbed the cow and she trembled, her mighty force rocking the trailer back and forth as the policewoman balanced ungainly and scrambled down, urgently instructing the driver to please get going again before the elephants broke out!
Arguably the most revered of the Big-5 species, we feel extremely privileged to wake up with these icons on our doorstep and cannot wait to delight our guests with amazing sightings of our family of gentle giants.