What makes Limpopo special?
Here are our top six qualities in Limpopo that stand out. Tell us what you love most about her.
- Limpopo is a mommy mini-me. She loves her mother and has learnt to copy all of her mother’s traits. When your mother is the Matriarch of a herd, that’s a lot to live up to. But Limpopo thrives in Tokwe’s light and clearly sees herself rising in the ranks as she grows older. She is emerging from youth and testing boundaries a lot more in the herd. She also looks just like her mother. She’s just a small Tokwe.
- She is so confident. She has been lucky not to have endured any trauma in her life and was brought into the world with a herd that has been hers since day one, with many members caring for her. She has been raised with a dedicated, knowledgable, loving mother and this support has helped give Limpopo the self-esteem to carry her through life.
- She is a little silly and we love her for it. She’s happy to flop her big body down on the ground to enjoy a fleeting sand rub or in the mud, to ensure every part of her is lathered in the wet earth. She hardly ever misses a chance to play on the ground, and certainly doesn’t worry about appearances, about maintaining any composure, or about who may be watching.
- Are we allowed to say she has a cupcake-shaped head? So does Timisa. Pisa, a little too. And this trait hasn’t skipped Limpopo.
- She holds her own with the boys. Limpopo loves playing and spending time with the young bulls and their rough play doesn’t bother her a bit. She happily spars and pushes back when Mambo or Zindoga challenge her. She’s the big sister and isn’t afraid to let everyone know.
- She really wants to help babysit (allomother). Her enthusiasm is all there. And she certainly has put in the time with Khanyisa. She endearingly gave Timisa plenty of attention too when the orphan first arrived. She is still learning through these experiences how to one day be a mother herself, as she struggled to get Khanyisa to suckle from her in that play-bonding Khanyisa did with many other females in the herd in the early days. In time, we don’t doubt that Limpopo will make a great mother, as she has been raised by the best.
On the 19th August 2006, female elephant Limpopo was born to the Jabulani herd. Her birth was an extremely significant event for both the elephants and our team, as she was the first elephant calf born to the herd, a sure sign that the herd were happy and healthy in their new environment after being rescued and relocated from Zimbabwe. It seems fitting that Tokwe, the matriarch of the herd, would be the first mother of the herd too, as she would be the perfect elephant to set an example of motherhood to others, and we had complete confidence in her abilities to come. She did not let us down.
Limpopo’s father however, remains a bit of a mystery. He may well have been one of the Jabulani herd bulls, however, the birth happened to coincide with a little adventure that Tokwe took, exactly two years prior to the day, where she had set off on her own into the bush, and returned a day later. So, there is a high probability that she may have been impregnated by one of the wild bulls on the reserve. We knew we needed a poignant name for this special little elephant, so we decided on Limpopo, which is the name of a large river that separates South Africa from Zimbabwe. This was the perfect name, seeing as the herd were rescued from Zimbabwe, and brought to South Africa, so she has ties to both countries.
Three years after Limpopo was born, Tokwe gave birth again, to Pisa, and thereafter another three elephants were born to other females in the herd, as well as the successful introduction of orphaned elephants, Kumbura and Timisa. This has made Limpopo take on the role of the “Big Sister” of the herd, and she performs that role beautifully, always protective and helping her mother tend to the younger elephants. She has been known to confront dangerous animals that have crossed their paths in the reserve, in order to protect them.
Over the years, Limpopo has spent a lot of her time by the side of her mother, who she is utterly besotted with. It is as if she is constantly watching to learn from her, which is important, as so most often, a matriarch’s eldest daughter will replace her role, if and when she were to pass away.
Tokwe has passed on a lot of her good genes to her daughter, who too has a slightly less wrinkled skin compared to other elephants, a slightly pointed forehead, and her tusks are also slender, neat and even. She is also an active elephant, just like her mom, resulting in a more athletic body shape. Limpopo is an exceptional Matriarch in the making, judging by how far she has come in the past twelve years. She is an incredibly intelligent and beautiful young female, and very empathetic to every elephant in the herd. She has brought so much joy to her family.