Tembe Elephant Park Development Trust
The Tembe Elephant National Park falls within the Tembe Tribal ward and was proclaimed in October 1983, after ‘the late’ Chief Msimba Tembe donated the land for the formation of the reserve. The reason for this was to try to help conserve and protect the sand forest and its many unique flora and fauna species and to create a refuge or place of peace for the last naturally occurring population of the African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) in KwaZulu-Natal.
Originally only the southern, eastern and western boundaries were fenced with game-proof fencing. This allowed the elephants passage to and from Mozambique until 1989 when the elephants were more settled and the northern boundary between Mozambique and the reserve could be properly fenced. The park was only officially open to the public two years later in 1991 when the elephants were deemed safe to view. Today there are more than 220 elephants in the Park, with some of the biggest Tuskers in Southern Africa.
Tembe is an unparalleled community conservation success story. The Tembe tribe owns and manages Tembe Elephant Lodge on their own ancestral land. Tembe Elephant Lodge is testimony to the care and pride the Tembe people take in a project that continues to uplift their community in many ways.
Tembe Elephant Park has grown to become the biggest private-sector employer in the region and is the largest contributor to the local economy. The Lodge currently employs 55 people, all from the KwaTembe region who are provided with professional training in hospitality or as guides.