If you love wildlife and you enjoy being active outdoors – and you’re not opposed to a good dash of luxury, choose White Elephant Safari Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal’s Pongola Game Reserve. It will give you a unique, wonderfully varied and action-packed wilderness experience, with far more than the usual twice-daily safari drives, to keep you enthralled and out in nature.
White Elephant Safari Lodge is set beside the beautiful Jozini Dam at the foot of the Lebombo Mountains. If you didn’t know differently, once here you could easily imagine yourself being at Lake Kariba. The ultimate waterside safari. Cruising mirrored waters to watch hippo and crocodile, and birds… Seeing wildlife on the shores… These are just a couple of aspects of the fabulous safari adventure in store for you at White Elephant. Offering both land- and water-based activities really gives this lodge the edge. Here’s the activity lineup:
Lake Jozini is all of 15 000 glistening hectares, making it the third largest lake in Southern Africa. These waters and surroundings have a beauty that is breathtaking, and a calm that is palpable. Sunset is a particularly magical time of day out on the water, and a great way to toast the sun going down while watching animals on the shores and spotting hippo and crocodile in the water. Early-morning cruises are offered too, to see the wild world waking up in and around the water.
For the bold and the brave, canoeing on Lake Jozini is a scenic 2-hour paddle along the shoreline. Expect to see hippo, crocodiles, lots of birds, and plains game on the shores.
Pack your hiking boots because foot safaris are a great part of the White Elephant experience. The tiny details and the full sensory impact of the wilderness can be appreciated a guided walk. These walks take place in the early morning or late afternoon, and last for anything up to 3 hours, depending on the fitness and stamina of the participants.
Hop up onto the open 4×4 safari vehicle first thing in the early morning or in the late afternoon and allow your guide to show you the varied wildlife of Pongola Game Reserve. Game drives take about 3 hours. Wildlife includes buffalo, elephant, rhino, leopard, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, warthog, 12 different varieties of antelope, more than 350 bird species and plenty of smaller mammals and insects.
BLACK RHINO RANGE EXPANSION PROJECT
Accompany conservationists and track rhino, using a telemetry device. Go in search of tracks and dung middens and view camera ‘trap’ locations as part of the rhino monitoring and conservation project known as the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project. This is a 3-hour activity open to guests aged 16 and over.
ELEPHANT RESEARCH PROJECT
White Elephant operates the Elephant Research Project as a unique educational activity. Interactive and visual, the activity brings guests into contact with research and conservation staff. Guests are taken out onto Lake Jozini to watch elephants from the boat; they visit the Research Centre and watch the BBC production ”Operation Elephant-The Mission” documenting the initial re-location of elephants from the Kruger National Park to Pongola. Guests also get to examine elephant skulls and bones and participate in discussions, and are offered insights into the Space for Elephants Foundation and other research projects. Please give prior notice of interest in this activity.
Ever taken up the challenge of tiger fishing? Thanks to a just-right climate, Jozini Dam is the only place in South Africa that is home to tiger fish. Boat-based tiger fishing is offered to White Elephant guests, subject to the weather being suitable. The tiger fish population is growing, which is good news for anyone ready to tackle the challenge. Hard bony jaws, big teeth and the ability to bite through a lure is all part of the challenge. Tigers have been known to hit their prey at 50 km per hour. The best time of year for tiger fishing at Lake Jozini is September – April. Tilapia, Barbel, Yellowfish, Grass Carp, Mozambique and Red Breasted Bream are also found in Lake Jozini. If you are up for the challenge, kindly note that Pongola Game Reserve promotes a catch-and-release policy for tiger fish.
Head for White Elephant’s ‘secret hide’ and expect to see any number of spectacular happenings out there in the wilderness. Be sure to have your binocs and camera at the ready. The hide is very unobtrusive, built by local craftsmen using natural materials from the area.The best time of the day to visit the hide is between 10h30 and 12h30.