Tembe Elephant Reserve covers an area of 30 000 hectares - only half of which is accessible. The reserve hosts a privately operated camp and is also open to the public. Although very few day trippers visit the reserve, you are still likely to encounter the odd public vehicle whilst on a drive (limited to four 4x4 vehicles per day). The area is still delightfully remote and pristine. Several distinct ecosystems can be found on Tembe, ranging from an open wetland area to remarkable sand forests. Tembe hosts the big five in healthy numbers, but, as the reserve is thickly forested and over half the reserve is a declared wilderness area where there is no road network and thus no access, sightings of lion, leopard and black and white rhino can be sporadic. However, sizable buffalo and elephant herds are usually encountered on drives. The elephants of Tembe are reportedly the largest specimens in Southern Africa. Birding on the reserve is exceptional.

Why we like it

Big 5 reserve; Reportedly hosts biggest elephants in South Africa; Excellent birding

Facts & Figures

Park / Reserve Size: 30 000 Ha
Reserve Type: Provincial Reserve
Big 5: Yes
Specialist Specie: Elephant
Malaria Area: Yes
Nearest Town: Kosi Bay

Accommodation in Tembe Elephant Reserve

Tembe Tented Camp

Tembe Tented Camp is situated on the Tembe Elephant Reserve in the far north of KwaZulu-Natal, bordering on Mozambique. The camp consists of twelve tented suites situated under a forest canopy. There are five en-suite ‘Matriarch’ tents (ideal for families- sleeps four people comfortably), four smaller ‘Suni’ tents, also en-suite (perfect for couples), and three bush camp tents with shared…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Tours and Activities in Tembe Elephant Reserve

Eastern Aspects of Southern Africa

The eastern part of South Africa offers some of the most diverse landscapes imaginable. Pristine tropical beaches, undeveloped and vast, stretch the coastline. The Big 5 roam the savannahs and the forests are enchanting. The lakes and rivers contain a myriad bird, aquatic, and tree life. This trip offers a diverse range of experiences, from snorkeling to Big 5 safaris,…

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Duration: 10 nights, 11 days
Budget: $300 - $500 p.p.p.d.

Zululand & Elephant Coast Safari Tour

This safari tour journeys through South Africa's KwaZulu Natal region, through the wilder parts of the province. Each destination is located a short distance from each other, which means that driving time is reduced. On the tour guests will visit various wilderness regions, coastal stretches and cultural hotspots, each offering unique experiences and promising an expedition not to be forgotten.…

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Duration: 11 Days
Budget: $150 - $300 p.p.p.d.

Lookout for

Samango Monkey
Red Duiker
Suni Antelope
Black Rhino
White Rhino

Key Species

Samango Monkey

Martial Eagle
Blue-throated Sunbird
Crested Guineafowl
African Broadbill
Narina Trogon

Forest Cobra
Water Monitor Lizard
Nile crocodile

Pod Mahogony
White Iron Wood
Sand Forest Milkberry

Sand Forest
Open Plains

Wildlife Ratings

Big 5: 7
Mammals: 7
Birds: 8
Reptiles: 5
Trees: 9
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