On arrival in South Africa, Rory and Lindie met André and Colleen Kotze in Hoedspruit, quickly forming a strong bond and becoming great friends. From their first visit to the Kotze’s home in 2002, Andre and Colleens’ children, Nicholas and Amy, and their many pets fell in love with the Hensmans. After shared meals, Lindie and Rory often left with two extra children and a few pets hiding in their car to go home with them!
André and Colleen spent the next few years under Rory and Lindie’s expert tutorage and guidance, learning how to care for the elephant. Many happy hours were spent together walking with the elephant, sleeping in their stables and absorbing the incredible wealth of knowledge from Rory and Lindie. The exciting idea of Elephant Whispers began to take shape over a picnic in the bush while the elephant swam and enjoyed a mudbath in the dam at EFAF.
The Kotze kids living the “high life”.
Jack and Joules interacting with Tembo.
These privileged times together in the bush with the elephant gave birth to the idea of opening a tourism venue where they could share the magic of the elephant, and ensure that the elephant’s future would be secure. The extensive search for suitable land where the elephant would have enough space to roam and sufficient food year round began in earnest.
During their search, they met Jack Brotherton, a successful entrepreneur with vast experience in the tourism world, and a committed conservationist. Watching Jack and his chocolate brown Labrador meet and interact with the elephant for the first time was a warm and touching experience. When Jack offered his expertise and partnership, Elephant Whispers became a reality, and one year later in December 2007, Elephant Whispers opened in Hazyview under management of André and Colleen Kotze.
André sharing in an Elephant Interaction.