It is no secret that I have a rather obvious love for the Kruger National Park.
A place with the marvelous ability to capture ones heart within a day, is a place that warrants many more return visits.
A remarkable feature Kruger has become very well known for, are their large elephant bulls. Not only are they large, but they carry some of the largest ivory in Africa.
Many of you may have heard of the Magnificent Seven, a collection of elephants that carried some of the largest tusks ever known. None of them are with us anymore as they all died of natural causes in the 1980’s. Regardless, their legacy still lives on today and no doubt will for many generations to come. Their tusks are displayed in Kruger’s Letaba Camp, and is definitely worth a visit.
A holiday in Kruger will almost certainly yield sightings of incredible elephant bulls. Their sheer size, stature and presence will leave you captivated!
Experiences with one such elephant bull will forever be etched in my memory. He is simply incredible.
He has this rather unnerving habit of approaching your vehicle, only stopping his approach at a meter or two. He is a large bull and this can be a daunting experience for most!
I remember an encounter with this magnificent bull almost 6 years ago! In his normal manner, he strolled right up to my Land Rover crossed his back legs and well, just stood there. My guests had to remember to breathe, it was just that special. He was also in full blown musth, a time in an elephants bull’s year when his levels of aggression can rise rather high. Yes t his posed no problem to him, he was as calm as ever and we enjoyed a special time in his presence.
Seeing one of these “emerging tuskers” on a safari to Kruger can be challenging, but there are many more bulls to find.
The area around Satara rest camp is especially well know for large elephant bulls. When you move further North towards Letaba and Shingwedzi Camps, you will likely encounter some spectacular elephants!
One of my favourite elephants was no great tusker at all. In fact, he had hardly any tusks.
That said, I believe that he was a great tusker in his day. He was such a large elephant and very relaxed. He would never walk far from the boundaries of the concession I worked in, and once in his company he would pay very little notice to you.
It is only when you get closer to him that you notice how large the sockets for his tusks are, and how wide his single remaining tusk is. It is extremely thick, and very straight, definite signs of large straight tusks. Sadly over time these large tusks are prone to breaking or chipping, diminishing the stature of these great elephant bulls.
He may not have been an example of his former glory, but he still presented himself with pride and honour, a legend and a Kruger tusker of old.
Kruger has some elephant cows with great ivory as well.
Cows are not well known for large tusks. They are usually rather thin and short to medium length, but no doubt lacking the width and thickness of a bull’s tusks.
There’s always the exception to the rule and the cows below demonstrate exactly that.
I just read as well that out of over 500 national parks across the world, Kruger National Park ranks as the 8th most visited park, receiving over a million visitors. That’s incredible and such great news for the future survival of these magnificent giants of Kruger. They need our support and awareness, they need us to be their voice and they need us to champion their cause!
Each one of these massive elephants have their own unique story. Each one of them bear the scars of battles won within their shredded ears, in their bruised foreheads and their broken damaged tusks.
The company of a legendary Kruger bull will have a profound impact on your life, a little time spent in their company is all that is needed.
Thanks and till next time.
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