“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” ~ Coretta Scott King

HERD is very proud to be part of a wonderful ongoing partnership with Mpisi Primary School, which is located just a short distance from us in Hoedspruit.

The school has roughly 800 learners from Grade R – Grade 4, while the high school, with Grades 5 – 7, has 1 400 learners. The teachers of this very special school are dedicated to inspiring a passion for conservation, as well as community development projects that we are incredibly proud to be part of. In total, we have reached 102 children at Mpisi Secondary School thus far, and look forward to spreading the word about elephant conservation to many more!

This relationship aspires to spark a passion for conservation in our greater community, as well as to share the work being done at HERD and create an inclusive and educational experience for all.

Through colouring in pictures of elephants, using their own creative flair, the children are able to connect with these magnificent animals in a way that is fun and engaging. The art created, or ele-art as it is affectionately known, serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts in South Africa, particularly when it comes to taking care of our beautiful wildlife. Each child keeps their artwork to take the art home and share with their loved ones.

Leading the Way

Spearheaded by Nursery Carer, Khensani Ngobeni who attended the school herself, as well other Elephant Carers and members of the operations team, these visits to the school truly inspire HERD as much as they inspire the learners.

Being Shangaan-speaking herself, Khensani is able to share the knowledge she has learnt as an elephant calf carer and answer any questions that the children may have. Her passion and gentleness resonate with the children, resulting in wonderful interactions and friendships being formed.

Our latest visit included 68 children, each of whom received their own pencil thanks to Jabulani Safari’s ‘Pack for a Purpose’ campaign. All these pencils were provided by guest and HERD supporter, Kim Van Nguyen, who was kind enough to bring along some wishlist items during her stay at the lodge. You can find out more about this campaign here.

The Importance of Sustainable Community Development

Aside from ele-art, HERD has also been working on some exciting sustainable development projects with Mpisi Secondary School. We have helped to implement a community garden for the children to enjoy at lunchtime. The intention of this garden is to teach the principles of substance farming to the learners, so that they may take skills (and cuttings or seeds) home to replicate what they have learnt for the benefit of their families.

The next project we hope to begin with this month is to create a vibrant vegetable garden at the school, full of delicious and healthy foods. This links to our sustainable development goals at HERD, in which we aim to help make an impact in our local community by kick-starting life-changing initiatives that can be easily maintained on an ongoing basis.

We are so excited to continue this very special journey with our friends at Mpisi Primary School!

Learn more about our visits to Mpisi Secondary School:


Find out more about our community development projects here:


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  1. At first I thought that I had given those pencils. I brought a bag full of pencils and rulers on my visit to CJ in late June and gave the supplies to Juan when I visited HERD. Did you receive them at the school? The stationery shop here in Copenhagen gave me a 15% discount when I told the owner what I was buying them for. I was going to show her that photo to thank her…maybe I’ll do it anyway and tell her there are two Kims. 😉

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