About Tembe Elephant National Park

The largest African elephants in the world, along with rhino, buffalo, leopard, hippo and antelope species in a 300km² park on the South Africa / Mozambique border, about four and a half hours from Durban. Excellent birding opportunities exist and scuba diving on the nearby Tongoland reefs.

Did you know? To preserve the pristine wilderness, Tembe park management employs a minimum-impact policy: non-intrusive visitor facilities; sand roads; sympathetic environmental management.

Situated in Maputaland, the north-eastern region of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, adjoining the Mozambique border, Tembe Elephant Park is home to the province's biggest African elephant herd and its only indigenous elephants.

Tembe's African elephants used to be South Africa's last remaining free-ranging herd, at one time moving seasonally between Mozambique and Maputaland. In recent years they have sought refuge in the dense sand forests of Tembe to escape the depredations of border conflicts and landmines, and their continuous harassment by ivory poachers.

The magnificent African elephants, more than 140 in number, from massive fully grown adults to juveniles, are Tembe's main attraction and make for spectacular viewing. The larger adults are physically the biggest in South Africa and signs of their presence are everywhere, clearly evident through the broken branches and foliage left behind from their voracious foraging.

Tembe's mosaic of sand forest, woodland, grassland, and swampland, comprises an ideal habitat for highly visible elephant spotting, enabling them to be observed at close-quarters from game-drive vehicles or from the discreetly-located hides which overlook their watering holes.

At 300 km² in extent, Tembe Elephant Park is the third largest game reserve in KwaZulu Natal, home not only to the unique African elephant population but to a profusion of wildlife including the Big Five. Black and white rhino (more than 65 in total), buffalo, leopard, hippo, serval, eland, zebra, giraffe, hyena, jackal, wildebeest, nyala, kudu, water buck, reed buck, red duiker, warthog, and other small mammals thrive in abundance.

Tembe is also home to the rare and elusive suni antelope, one of the smallest and shyest species of buck in southern Africa, and the patient game-viewer is often rewarded with a sighting. Tembe is a bird-watching paradise, with more than 340 species recorded in the park - including the rare Rudd's apalis, the rufous-bellied night heron, the Natal nightjar and the Woodward's batis.

This is an Africa that tourists seldom see, where an abundance of African elephants, game and rare species live in an environment unchanged by time.

Need to Know

WhereTembe Elephant National Park, Kwangwanase, 3973, Elephant Coast, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

WhenDaily from 06h00 to 18h00.

Telephone+27 (0)31 267-0144

OvernightStay in Elephant Coast Accommodation, KwaZulu Natal


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Stay at Tembe Elephant National Park

Manguzi Hotel / Game Lodge

Royal Thonga Safari Lodge

Sleeps 32 people in 14 rooms

The lodge is designed to emulate the local Tonga building style and each of the fourteen chalets are uniquely ...

Excellent [2 verified reviews]

  • tonight from
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  • 3540
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    based on 2 persons
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  • Rooms are not airconditioned
  • Free WiFi is not offered
  • No airport transfers
  • Free parking is available
  • Pets are not allowed
  • Royal Thonga Safari Lodge does not have a swimming pool
  • Family friendly, children of all ages are welcome

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