Camp Jabulani South Africa
Greater Kruger Area,
Kapama Private Game Reserve,
Date of Creation
Hotel General Manager
Stefan & Chantel du Toit
After starting their journey with Camp Jabulani in 2008 the couple left for a position in the Sabi Sands as assistant managers and later General managers. They returned home in November 2017.
5 Star Luxury Safari Lodge. Relais & Chateaux.
2010 Jabulani added Zindoga Villa.
History & Story
In June 1997, just 4 months old, a tiny elephant arrived at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC). He had been found stuck in the mud of a silt dam, and was injured and severely dehydrated. He had been abandoned by his herd.
It took a full year to nurse the elephant back to health. He truly beat the odds, as not much hope was held that he would pull through. He was monitored around the clock by a dedicated team (including a hand-reared sheep called “Skaap” which acted as a surrogate mother) and was slowly brought back to a state of health. He was called Jabulani – meaning “to rejoice”.
Now came a challenge of an altogether different kind. Despite numerous attempts to re-introduce Jabulani to the bush, he would have none of it! These humans were his family, and he had no intention of parting ways. What to do with a quickly growing elephant?
Enter the hand of fate once again.
In March 2002 word reached the HESC of some Zimbabwean elephants which faced a grisly and untimely end. These elephants were all orphans due to a culling programme that took place in the 1980s, and were already trained for elephant back safari operations. Their owner’s farm was in the process of being expropriated by war veterans, and the elephants were tagged for their meat. A rescue mission was put into place within a matter of weeks. Two massive trucks left Johannesburg for Zimbabwe empty – and returned with a couple pachyderms.
It was with amazement that the HESC team witnessed the meeting of Jabulani and the herd. He was immediately adopted by Tokwe (the matriarch) and had finally found his kin.
Left with the overwhelming custodianship of these beautiful but mammoth animals, the next logical step was in the creation of a camp to support them. This lodge would enable travellers from around the world to experience the extraordinary impact of interacting with elephants.
And so Jabulani lodge was born.
Almost 16 years later, and the elephants are alive and well. Five babies have been born to the herd, and another three orphans found in the wild was introduced and rehabilitated successfully.
There is nothing ordinary about the soulful safari experience at Jabulani. And that is because of its elephants combined with the Big 5 safari. Discover for yourself that intangible something that will leave you marked forever.
Main lounge refurb May 2018.
Date added extensions
Zindoga Villa added in 2010 catering for family travellers/ 2014 added the gallery, wine cellar and curio shop Gallery/ Curio Shop and Wine Cellar added in 2014.
Main Strengths, Special Touch
Jabulani, a Soulful Safari Experience.
Jabulani is a place to indulge your every sense. A place to explore the amazing wildlife, to rest, to eat, and to reconnect with nature, and most importantly, yourself.
Learn about our inspiring journey that began with a herd of elephants that Lente Roode rescued nearly twenty years ago. Our devoted elephant carers will share insightful information, and stories of their life journeys with the Jabulani elephant herd, whilst you have opportunity to observe the herd during their daily routines, such as their midday swims, or as they are out, for aging in the wild.
You soon realise that you are part of something much greater here, than just another luxury safari lodge.
The Jabulani safari experience is soulful, insightful and truly unforgettable.
A Proud member of Relais and Châteaux.
Jabulani is based on the Kapama Private Game Reserve 30 mins drive outside the town of Hoedspruit. Kapama is very conveniently located right next to Hoed spruit Eastgate Airport which is well serviced with daily flights operated by SA Airlink and Cemair, from Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as charter flight operators. Jabulani is a 20 minute transfer in an open safari vehicle from the Hoed spruit airport. Private charters direct into the reserve are also available.
Key sites/activities in the area
Today visitors have the exclusive opportunity to observe the herd in close proximity, learning more about their behavior, their unique character traits, their incredible story and what it takes to take care of them. Much of this takes place while the elephants are in their natural environment, for aging in the bush, walking through the reserve or swimming at the waterhole. Photographic opportunities with the elephants are also afforded.
Situated on a Big 5 private game reserve in the Greater Kruger area, this is one of the finest places on earth for viewing and photographing wildlife. Experienced rangers host guests on game drives and bush walks for close sightings of predators and other iconic African species living wild.
Other optional activities include hot-air ballooning, a behind the scenes tour of the Hoed spruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC), canyon helicopter tours and a game of golf. No itinerary is fixed, as Camp Jabulani offers a tailor-made experience according to its guests’ specific interests.
Big 5 safari experience on the private owned reserve Elephant experiences with the semi-habituated herd of rescued and orphaned elephants.
A Visit to the Hoed spruit Endangered Species Centre Helicopter flights over the spectacular Blyde Gorge Day trips to the panarame route Day trips intothe world renownedKruger national park
Jabulani is named afte our firts rescued elephant Jabulani. Jabulani Means ‘rejoice / happiness’.
The “Team Tusker ”Programme caters for safari-goers 6-12 years, and is structured to stimulate and entertain younger guests, as wellas to allow parents to take a little “time out”. Kids are whisked off into a wildlife wonderland, and are able to participate in any numberof exciting activities which have been designed with optimum enjoyment in mind (and a lot of exciting learning too!). The TeamTusker Programme is always available, maximum two hours per session. Activities dependant on availability of time.
ON THE “TEAM TUSKER” MENU:
• Dung throwing
• Orienteering (learning to find the way home)
• Basic bush cooking and baking (for those budding chefs!)
• “ Tusker ” tales (fascinating stories and gigantic tale of elephants)
• Spoor casting (painting etc)
• Make your own African animal T-shirt
• Star-naming (learning about heavens and constellations in the Southern Skies)
• Seeds and pods (learning how even the tallest tree comes from a minute beginning)
• Animal Conservation Initiatives (teaching kids about the importance of conserving our endangered species for the enjoyment of generations to come).
• Making Paper (out of recycled elephant dung…)
• Bird watching and identification (feathered friends are just as exciting!)
• Bug catching
• Mammal behaviour lessons
• Flori-bundance (learning about different plants and their medicinal uses and healing powers)
• Land Rover Orientation (junior rangers must know the ins and outs of their safari vehicle!)
• Indigenous stories and basic language skills
• Our place in nature
Nestled within a Big Five Private Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger Park, Jabulani’s six suites and exclusive Zindoga Villa, ensure a highly refined, personalised and intimate stay.
Each spacious suite is discrete, luxurious and complimented by both a private deck and plunge pool.
• Number of suites: 6 Suite over looking a dry riverbed
• 1 Private villa (Zindoga Villa) 2 master suites with plunge pools with an additional 3rd bedroom for children.
• Number of rooms, (keys) in all: 8 suites
Restaurants & Bars
Camp Jabulaniprides itself on exceptional cuisine, combined with fine wines and a variety of dining venues, both indoors and outdoors.
• All Inclusive
• Tailored menus according to requirements that can include kosher and halaal
• Internationally trained executive chef delivering 5* fine dining, with a South African twist
• Beautiful lakeside boma with ambience of stars, lanterns and bonfires, with food cooked over open fires
• Surprise bush breakfasts and champagne sundowners can be set up for groups
•Dining Room and private deck for meals
• Cocktail lounge
• Therapy lapa (outdoor spa)
• Each suite has its own private plunge pool
• Outside gym
• There is an on-site gym and experienced therapists offer soothing massages in the outdoor spa or in the comfort of your suite.
Corporate & Celebration Events
• We can cater for up to 18 guests
• Innovative and fun team-building activities available on request
Extra Notable Features
• Elephant Experience and Tracking
• Game Drives and bush walks on Kapama Big 5 Reserve. Private guide(s) allocated to groups
• Behind the scenes tour of Hoed spruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)
• Conservation-led volunteering activities, such as rhino tagging or assisting at HESC can be arranged
• Optional extras include helicopter tours of Blyde River Canyon, golf, hot air ballooning, relaxing spa treatments
Hotel and restaurant Awards
• Certificate of excellence Trip Advisor
• Certificate of excelence Trip Advisor
• Conde Nast Saver ‘s / Sustainability Award
Number of employees
52 Lodge + 30 Elephant carers