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A tribute to Paul Coetsee, by Adine Roode

A tribute to Paul Coetsee, by Adine Roode

It is with great sadness that I relay the news of  the passing of Paul Coetsee, Camp Jabulani’s former Elephant Manager. Paul peacefully exited this world in his sleep on 06 December 2015. A remarkable and much loved man, Paul had countless stories and experiences which he enjoyed sharing with our guests. You could tell just by looking at his hands and legs that he had lived his life fully. His many scars told countless stories from many moons back. He stepped down as Elephant Manager in 2010.

Paul was born on the 13th of February 1935 in Fort Victoria in what was then called Rhodesia (now known as Masvingo, Zimbabwe). Having spent much of his life in the bush, he took up the position as manager of the Camp Jabulani Elephants in 2004. Paul was a very gentle man, and spoke with the ultimate fondness when the subject on his tongue was ‘his’ elephants.

camp jabulani elephants

Paul would often tell me how handlers played the most important role in an elephant’s life. Spending most of every day together, bonds are formed that no other human can understand. “Being an Elephant Master isn’t all sunshine and roses”, he would say, “it takes hard work and dedication!”. This was something he knew all about. A slight and wiry man with silver hair and a naughty twinkle in his eye, he stood out for hundreds of guests visiting the lodge. Especially the ladies!

Paul was a man with a big heart and an indescribable love of elephants. He will be missed, but his memories will live on in the hearts and minds of all of us at Camp Jabulani.

camp jabulani elephants

RIP Paul.

Adine Roode

MD of Camp Jabulani

3 Comments
  • Annette vd Merwe
    Posted at 07:06h, 16 December Reply

    R.I.P oom Paul. You will be missed. Thank you for taking care of our daughter Lanette at Camp J when the two of you were working there. May you legacy always carry on

  • Louw du Toit
    Posted at 12:12h, 16 December Reply

    It was with sadness that my wife and I read about Paul’s death.
    He enriched our knowledge about elephants ! We will remember him with fondness.
    Louw and Henriette du Toit

  • Peter Lastrucci
    Posted at 19:51h, 06 May Reply

    What a shock to hear of Paul’s passing.. may he RIP
    A very kind hearted and generous man with always a good story to tell!
    Used to fly his immaculate red and white Cessna 182 ZS-IWM when he was based at Krugersdorp.

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