“We’re all in this together, if we’re in it at all.” – Johnny Cash
Working and living on the frontline, immersed with our whole hearts in the work of conservation and community empowerment, life’s challenges, the triumphs and losses, are always more heightened.
It’s the greatest lesson in love: once your heart is invested, once you’ve looked into the eyes of a rescued elephant orphan or a rhino rehabilitated after poaching, it is impossible to walk away. No matter the steps backward, there are always more steps taken forward and in the great march this year, we have become only wiser, more grateful and more committed. We have come together even more closely as a team.
In our final blog for 2019, we decided to share the remarkable highlights of this passed year that give us great hope for the New Year and deep gratitude for the people who were part of the year gone by. Thank you for being on this journey with us and remember that no challenge is too much when you embrace it together.
Jabulani received an honour of its own this year, attaining 5 Star Premium Status! We are one of only a ten properties in the country at the time to hold this exclusive and prestigious title. The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa states that this status is reserved for graded establishments in South Africa that epitomise and exceed both product quality and service standards in the luxury market.
“It is our constant endeavour to create something truly special and soulful at Jabulani,” says Adine, “to go beyond the ordinary, touch hearts and leave a lasting impact on human and animal alike. We are so proud of our entire team at the lodge and grateful to our suppliers, partners and guests who continue to support us in this journey.”
Elephant Bull Fishan’s successful recovery
Consider the challenge that faced our 33-year-old four-ton elephant bull, Fishan, when he injured his left front leg in September last year, after stepping into a man-made hole in the ground. More than a year has passed since then and after a miraculous process of rehabilitation, working with veterinary surgeon, Dr Johan Marais of Saving the Survivors, and Wildlife Vet Dr. Peter Rogers, Fishan’s injury has healed successfully.
In most cases like this, the elephant would not have been spared, but we threw ourselves into his recovery with tenacity, teamwork and fierce faith and are beyond thrilled to see our Fishan swimming in the dam again like an excited young boy!
Further success stories that we celebrate in 2019 are six of the rhinos that were brought in to Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) after bring either orphaned or severely injured in poaching attacks. Over the years, Adine Roode worked closely with the team at HESC and supporting wildlife veterinarian teams such as Dr. Peter Rogers and Dr. Johan Marais of Saving the Survivors, who worked tirelessly to rehabilitate the rhinos in their care successfully, and over three separate dates spanning from December 2018 to August 2019, they were released back into the wild. Guests and rangers have witnessed the rhinos thriving out in their natural habitat this year which has renewed our drive and hope, and inspired many visitors.
There was Gertjie and Matimba, two orphaned rhinos that were found next to their mothers’ lifeless bodies in 2014. Both were rehabilitated at HESC (with faithful companion, Lammie, a hand-reared Pedi lamb always close-by) and released back into the wild in July this year. The pair were recently spotted approaching a waterhole where we had set up sundowners for guests. That was a truly proud and emotional moment for all.
Lion’s Den and Dingle Dell, two white rhino cows, were released back into the wild in December 2018, five years after they survived a vicious poaching attack that left them severely injured and one bull dead. Fully rehabilitated, after groundbreaking research and numerous operations to reconstruct their nasal cavaties, they are the stories of triumph that we are so grateful for.
White rhinos, Ike and Phillipa (male and female) were also rehabilitated at HESC after poaching incidents left both severely injured and traumatised. This year, they were also released both back into nature to roam freely where they belong. Ike and Phillipa found not only healing at HESC but also love.
Each of the three pairs mentioned above have been inseparable at HESC and remain so, back in the wild, they are never far from each other.
South Africa’s First Dedicated Elephant Orphanage
As for our elephants, with the growing numbers of orphans and displaced elephant calves (four of which have been accepted by the Jabulani herd over the years), as a result of poaching and the man vs. elephant land conflict, Adine took the step to build a dedicated elephant orphanage this year.
Called HERD (Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation & Development), it is the first of its kind in South Africa. The orphanage sits next to the Jabulani Herd stables in the Kapama Private Game Reserve. Our goal is for every orphaned elephant brought into our care to be rehabilitated and integrated into the Jabulani herd, an established, stable and nurturing herd that will accept them without prejudice and provide them with the love and emotional security they need to survive.
This is a new way of approaching the rescue of elephant orphans in South Africa – one where family (elephant and human) and togetherness lies at the heart of the success.
The creation of the orphanage this year was no easy feat though! The rehabilitation and development of the orphans requires the 24hr dedication of our team of elephant carers, milk, medicine, stimulation and exercise, family bonding, funding, consistent long-term management planning, team work and a safe and regulated reintegration process for the baby elephants.
Together with the wormery and aquaponics system we set up at HERD, the orphanage is truly a source of great pride for us and we are so grateful for each and every person walking this path with us.
Sadly, orphaned elephant Mopane, who had just started his integration process with the HERD, passed away suddenly at the end of this year. It was and remained an incredibly heartsore experience amongst a year filled with much success. However, Mopane showed us that the orphanage integration process worked well, and his legacy will live on with the orphanage.
Adine Roode recieves Relais & Châteaux’s Woman of the Year 2020 Award.
.At the annual Relais & Châteaux Congress in London in November this year, Adine Roode, Owner & MD of Jabulani was awarded the Relais & Châteaux Woman of the Year Trophy, recognising her as one of the “women of heart and intellect, women of spirit and taste,” that the association honours with the esteemed trophy each year, “women who have perfected the graceful art of receiving and who are the creators of an environment that is conducive to happiness.”
Thank you for the great honour, Relais & Châteaux, and a big congratulations again to our Adine! You are the heart, soul and fire of Jabulani, inspiring and driving our team and our continued efforts and successes in making the world a better place for elephant and woman alike. The world is a much better and brighter place with you in it, leading the way for the conservation of Africa’s vulnerable species.
And as for our team…
We are so grateful for their continued love, passion and dedication in everything that they do at Jabulani. What has been their highlight for 2019? We asked a few and they replied:
We wish you all a wonderful festive season with love, light and laughter and look forward to another year, another chance to make the world a better place!