Ezulwini, the Duke of Pridelands

A magical moment with the Duke of Pridelands

After an incredible game drive, I had just stopped back at camp with the students. All the students were on their way to their tents to relax before dinner after a busy, hot day. The sun was finally setting, and the rays shone sharply through the tall, dense trees. There wasn’t a sound around me except the distant call of a Grey-headed bush shrike. 

While strolling to the camp’s common area I heard a branch crack a few meters before me, which made me jolt back to reality. An enormous presence emerged from behind the bush. I have listened to the stories, but something made me feel like I couldn’t believe it until I saw it myself. I went ice cold, and goosebumps covered my body. The call of the Grey-headed bush shrike slowly faded as I stood and marvelled at what was now walking straight in my direction. I caught eye with him. We were both so calm. I realized I was standing face to face with one of the most famous tuskers of the Pridelands, Ezulwini. 

This magnificent creature was sharing a magical moment with me. Ezulwini embodied an enormous presence. I have never seen such a massive tusker in real life, let alone had such a memorable encounter with one. The moment was oddly peaceful. I knew he meant no harm – that he was only passing through. Our intimate moment ended; he turned to the side and majestically strode off into the bush on the other side of the camp towards Ndlovu dam and disappeared back into the thicket. 

The Duke of Pridelands

Ezulwini means “heaven” or “heaven sent” in Xhosa, and I think his name suits a gentle giant like him perfectly well. This majestic bull is in his prime and commonly seen moving with a few younger males. The other males do not dare put a foot into camp – unlike Ezulwini, who knows he is the boss of the bush. He takes full advantage of his authority and walks in and out of camp on the main roads! He is also known to side-eye people and pretend to eat while deciding whether he can trust you. 

Pridelands camp life

Pridelands is a beautiful camp, and having Ndlovu dam so close to camp makes it even more special. You can watch herds of elephants bathing and playing in the dam almost daily. It is a fitting name, as “Ndlovu” is the word for elephant in Zulu. The camp has a primitive, rustic feel and has ten canvas dome tents scattered around the bush for students on EcoTraining courses. 

Gorgeous Pixie Pan

Another well-known animal you’ve probably already heard of who lives around Pridelands is Pixie Pan – a gorgeous leopardess with blue eyes. She is sometimes initially mistaken for a male because of her large neck and tall legs. 

Many other students have had the privilege of seeing Pixie Pan. If you want to experience wildlife sightings like these, join us on one of our courses to have an immersive experience in the African bush! 

FGASA and CATHSSETA-qualified Professional Field Guide Course.

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Sign up for the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course today! 

For more information on the 1-year Professional Field Guide Course, contact [email protected] or call +27 (0)13 7522532

About the Author:
EcoTraining Pty Ltd

EcoTraining Pty Ltd

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