Fact Sheets



All About Camp Jabulani

all about camp jabulani
Camp Jabulani is a family-owned and managed private luxury safari lodge located within the Kapama Private Game Reserve in Hoedspruit, South Africa (in close proximity to the Kruger National Park in the scenic Mpumalanga region).


With a Relais & Châteaux accreditation, this lodge is guaranteed to offer first class accommodation, cuisine, facilities and personalised service. But its most notable feature is the herd of trained African elephants, which were rescued by the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC). Visitors have the opportunity to meet the elephants as well as view them in close proximity, learning more about their behaviour, their unique character traits, their incredible story, and what is takes to take care of a herd of this size. Much of this will take place while the elephants are in their natural environment, foraging in the bush, walking through the reserve or swimming in the waterhole. Photographic opportunities in close proximity of the elephants are also afforded.


This luxurious lodge has only six superior suites – accommodating 12 guests, while the exclusive Zindoga Villa is ideally suited to the family traveller accommodating children of all ages, or the client who prefers a more private, luxury experience.


Some of Camp Jabulani’s notable offerings include:

  • Daily unique elephant experience
  • Game drives in the Big Five – Kapama Private Game Reserve,
  • Visits to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre,
  • Indulgent treatments in the Therapy Lapa,
  • Gastronomic delights at the hands of the masterful culinary team, and
  • Hot air balloon and helicopter flights (additional activities available)


The lodge is easily accessible by road, or by air on daily scheduled flights with SA Express and Cemair from Johannesburg, Cape Town or private charter flights.


The Roode Family has a long history in the South African wildlife community, with Lente Roode as founder of the world-renowned Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. It was the HESC’s commitment to the cause of rescuing and providing a safe haven for orphaned, injured and vulnerable animal species that saw the conceptualisation and creation of Camp Jabulani. It is a remarkable story – scroll down to read more about the story of Jabulani.


Send your enquiry, reserve your space or find out what other guests have to say about Camp Jabulani. Also, be sure to visit the blog, which is regularly updated with wonderful stories of the elephants and news from the kitchen and the rangers.


the story of jabulani
This is the story of an abandoned baby elephant who could never have known the impact he would have on the lives of other elephants, and on thousands of people around the world.


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 camp would enable travellers from around the world to experience the extraordinary impact of interacting with elephants.


And so Camp Jabulani was born.

Almost 10 years later, and the elephants are alive and well. Four babies have been born to the herd, and another orphan found in the wild was rehabilitated successfully.


There is nothing ordinary about the Camp Jabulani experience. And that is because of its elephants. Discover for yourself that intangible something that will leave you marked forever.


Edition #1 of Camp Jabulani – The Journey has just been released! The perfect info-guide with all the facts and incredible images of our journey…


Please click here for your digital copy.

Alternatively, contact us for a print version.

camp jabulani brochure 2017


As a six year old child, Lente Roode (nee Schürmann) was given an orphaned cheetah cub after a neighboring farmer shot it’s mother. They called the cub ‘Sebeka’, and she soon became part of the Schürmann household. Together, Lente and her mother (a nurse) lovingly cared for the animal. Lente and her cheetah were inseparable.


After completing her studies in education, Lente married Johann Roode in 1970.


In 1985, Johann and Lente bought their first farm, which bordered on her family’s land in Hoedspruit. Lente then inherited her father’s farm. Lente’s longing to be involved on the farm, and her need to work with animals developed, and the decision to change to game farming became inevitable. Further land was acquired, and Kapama Private Game Reserve – 12 500 hectares in extent – came into being.


With the help and guidance of the late Professor David Meltzer of the Onderstepoort Faculty of Veterinary Science (at the University of Pretoria), and Des Varaday, Lente and Johann Roode planned and developed the infrastructure for a cheetah centre, and built the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project (HCP) within a year. The inclusion of other species into the Centre’s breeding programme necessitated the name change from the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC).


In the world of conservation in South Africa, few women can match Lente Roode’s passion and commitment. From her pioneering work in the conservation of the cheetah, and her contribution towards having these animals removed from the CITES red list of endangered species, to providing a home for a herd of 12 Zimbabwean and one orphaned elephant – destined for an uncertain future – she has established a measure for conservation in South Africa. From humble beginnings as a child growing up on a farm in the lowveld, Lente Roode’s life has always been destined to be one involved with conservation, and the animal kingdom. Through the establishment of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (initially the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project) in 1990, Lente became involved in developing South Africa’s premier research facility for cheetahs, which expanded to include the care of other endangered and orphaned animals.


In the New South Africa, she is extending her reach to include the lives of the youth – especially the previously disadvantaged and under privileged – through an education programme which aims to further awareness, ensuring that the country raises excellent conservationists to take it into the future.


The legacy of conservation has moved from one generation to the next within the Roode family. After completing her Honours Degree in Accounting in 1994, Lente’s daughter, Adine, moved to Hoedspruit to manage the Kapama Private Game Reserve. After spending 16 months in the United Kingdom, Adine returned to South Africa in 2003 to focus on the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and Camp Jabulani, after her father’s untimely death in 2002. Adine then took over the full-time management of Camp Jabulani in 2005. Elephants are her passion, and her fastidious operation of the camp is a testament to her dedication to ensuring that the elephants flourish in an environment that is as close as possible to that which they would experience in the wild.

camp jabulani relais & chateaux accredited