Confident, brave, little Khanyisa is certainly growing before our eyes and we are so thrilled to be ending the year on a high note, with her health doing well and her weight increasing constantly. We are so grateful to see her weight now at 480 kgs, almost 500 kg! It has been a very busy year with lots of changes and challenges, but Sunshine has shown she has what it takes to thrive and is as playful, boisterous and beautiful as ever. Our team are really comforted to know that all the hard work, hours, TLC, and teamwork put into Khanyisa’s care has helped to make her the strong and independent female elephant she will need to be when the time comes to join the herd permanently.

Enjoy a morning at the orphanage with Sunshine and her friends, Stavros, Khensani, Adine and Sheepy Pals, Lammie and Nungu:

We will start to wean her slowly over the next two years as elephants are usually weaned at around 4-5 years. As she needs less milk, we will be able to gradually have her join the herd in the homestead for short and then longer periods. We will keep you updated always, as we know you care about her wellbeing as much as we do. The greater herd have been full of antics themselves, splashing about frequently in the mud wallows and dams lately, as the rain has graced our wilderness with new life-giving water.

Lundi remains Khanyisa’s go-to elephant, as her adoptive mother, but she also loves her time with Timisa, and her greater herd. Timisa has also been growing steadily and it always surprises us to see her tusks, like Khanyisa’s, becoming more and more prominent.

Fishan and Jabulani, Sebakwe and Mambo, have all been enjoying sparring time, with Mambo also often going after Setombe. We always keep an eye on their challenges to ensure no one is hurt. The older bulls help to keep peace among the younger bulls, Mambo and Zindoga. The females keep an eye on Zindoga as he is often seen mounting the younger cows in the herd. This is often just playful and nothing more. The elephants have been thoroughly enjoying the extra green grass sprouting up all over the reserve and our own team have been excitedly photographing all the progress.

With the sun rising earlier and earlier, Khanyisa gets some extra garden time with Lammie and Nungu in the morning and evening. She is certainly much taller than her sheep friends now, but her companions happily dance around her in the nursery and out by the water and beloved mineral block in the garden.

We hope your year has also been filled with lots of excitement, peace, or whatever makes you happiest! We hope you get to rest and reset for the new year, and we can’t wait to go on another ride of milestones, lessons and tales in 2022! A huge thank you for being there with us, in 2021, for all the love and support. And thank you to our amazing team, who sacrifice so much to give the elephants the best care and protection in their wild home that they can!

A few wonderful recent moments with Khanyisa and the whole herd!

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