For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Elephant Museum - Part 3 Phelwane

For many, many years I worked in Kruger National Park as a tour guide. During that time, I got to know many of these elephants personally as they ranged in the same areas I frequented. Some of these huge fellows are still wandering around and a few, like my favourite Phelwane, has died. The following parts in this series is dedicated as my tribute to them….. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

Let me introduce you to them…… Phelwana (….. - 1988)

Origin of Name:

Phelwana was named by Anthony Hall-Martin when he was seen emerging from the Phelwana stream and tributary of the Timbavati in the central region of the Kruger National Park. (Origin of the name is unknown but was possibly a person of long ago – probably a Sotho person (Kloppers & Bornman 2005).


Phelwana frequented the Kingfisherspruit ranger’s section, west of Satara. During the latter part of the 1980’s Phelwana adopted the habit of breaking trough the Park’s western boundary fence where he was often seen in Manyeleti, Timbavati and other nature reserves.

Special Features:

Phelwana has a large round hole on the out edge of his left ear and had notable weight to his ivory.


Phelwana was first recorded in 1980 during the annual aerial census. He was average sized bull, reaching 325cm at the shoulder and with a forefoot circumference of 152cm. On the 22nd January 1988 game scout Armand Ndhlouvu of the Kingfisherspruit Section reported that Pelwana was in difficulty, noting that he had been shot and that his condition was poor and he could scarcely walk. Assistance was called in and the elephant was darted for examination. A bullet wound from a heavy caliber rifle in the neck region had gone septic, and has also shattered his lower jawbone which made feeding and drinking extremely difficult. There was little hope of saving him and it was agreed to put him down.

Phelwana’s magnificent tusks were the heaviest in the collection, together weighing 135.5kg until the inclusion of Mandleve, now the heaviest recorded bull in Southern Africa.

(Phelwane’s tusks are on display in the Letaba Elephant Hall)

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