Skip to main content

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.

Voortrekker

This is a tale of courage, perseverance and tenacity. It is the story of Voortrekker, the famous Namib Desert Elephant bull. Voortrekker means “pioneer”, “the leader,” or “the one who shows the way”. Never has there been a name more apt than his.

In the 1980s there were no elephants left in the northwestern stretch of Namibia’s Kunene region due to over-hunting and rampant poaching. Then in 1989, Voortrekker visited the area, scouting around for a couple of weeks, patiently assessing every possible location, looking for danger, protection, hide-aways, watering holes and secret juicy food supplies.

A few weeks later Voortrekker returned, bringing his family to the Ugab River area. The small group of elephants must have been surprised at their leader’s actions, but trusted him implicitly, as his instincts always had turned out right before. The family unit, consisting of only about 20 individual elephants, had moved in. The Damaraland Desert was now their home and they had to survive.

Voortrekker taught them how to dig wells with their trunks and which shrubs contained the softest, moist foods. He showed them how to store water in a poach in their throats to use a couple of hours later, when they weren’t near the watering holes anymore. He led them straight to the fragrant Commiphora plants for a special treat.

The original group of 20 elephants split into three distinct family units, each favouring specific areas of the desert for themselves. Over the years they travelled many miles, their feet developing wider than those of other elephants. They became skinnier than normal elephants, and they started nursing their babies for twice as long to adapt to the harsh conditions.

In 2008, the Namibian government decided to issue permits to hunt these elephants. Six permits were issued, one for Voortrekker. An urgent appeal was launched with the help of Desert Elephant Conservation in order to stop the hunt, but five elephants still got killed.

A group of 10 dedicated women took up Voortrekker’s cause, and walked 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) through the desert in order to raise the funds needed to buy the bull elephant’s permit. His hunting tag was successfully purchased from the Government for a total of $12,000 USD, as a live trophy. The other five elephants had lost their lives, but Voortrekker was now a living legend.

Voortrekker was killed by a trophy hunter in June 2019 after being declared a ‘problem-animal’ by Namibian authorities. The surgical removal of Africa’s big-gene animals by trophy hunters continues, and Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants now rely on a small population of mature bulls after two were killed in 2016.

In their announcement on Facebook, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) said “the elephant bull concerned was put down after it was declared a problem. The animal alongside others have been destroying properties and infrastructure in the area of Omatjete.”

MET spokesperson Romeo Muyunda Lee advised that the price paid was N$120,000 (+/- US$ 8,500), but it is unclear at this stage whether this was the total price paid or the portion paid to communities.

Photo copyright and text: CJ Carrington, Vera Galot, African Geographic

Voortrekker

Read more Elephant stories

Camilla

Camilla

Ndlulamithi

Ndlulamithi

Oralee

Oralee

Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks for subscribing
Terms & Conditions

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

COMPANY DETAILS

This website is owned and operated by Elephant Gin GmbH

REGISTERED OFFICE

Elephant Gin GmbH
Rosenstrasse 3
19243 Wittenburg
Germany

Company No. 30409808

VAT GER UstID: DE291453060

To contact us, click here.

By accessing this site, you must be:
1) Of legal age for purchasing and consuming alcoholic beverages in accordance with the regulations of your country of residence.
2) In a country which permits the promotion and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

For information relating to responsible alcohol consumption please visit www.drinkaware.co.uk

USER POLICY

All information, artwork, text, video, audio, pictures, software and other intellectual property (“the Content”) contained on this website are protected by copyright and international laws.  All Content is provided on a personal use basis only, none of the Content should be used for commercial use.

You agree that use of this website and any related services is at your sole risk and that Elephant Gin GmbH makes no representations or warranties regarding the website or the Content whether express or implied, arising by law or otherwise, including that relating to any Content that may be regarded as objectionable, indecent or offensive.

You also agree that Elephant Gin GmbH will not be liable for any loss or damage of any nature whatsoever and howsoever arising out of or in connection with the viewing, use or performance of this website, the Content, or related services, whether due to inaccuracy, error, omission or any other cause.

Elephant Gin GmbH reserves the right to change any Content on this website and reserves the right to modify, alter, change, amend, update or revise in any way whatsoever these terms and conditions form the agreement between Elephant Gin GmbH and the user, but will not change the way Elephant Gin GmbH uses your information as provided previously without your express consent.

Elephant Gin GmbH has no control of, accept no responsibility for, and do not endorse any content found within third party sites that may be linked to the Elephant Gin GmbH’s site. Any reliance placed on information found on these third party sites should be done at the user’s own risk.

SPECIAL OFFERS AND VOUCHER CODES

When redeeming special offer or voucher codes, users must adhere to the below terms:

  • Customers may only redeem offer codes for one transaction.
  • Offer codes may not be used in conjunction with any other offer.

COMPETITIONS AND PROMOTIONS: STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. Competition details form part of these terms and conditions.
  2. Entry is open to residents of the UK except employees of Elephant Gin GmbH (UK) and their agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions.
  3. The entrant(s) must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required.
  4. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification.
  5. Entries that are incomplete, illegible, indecipherable, or inaudible (if made by phone) will not be valid and deemed void.
  6. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition.
  7. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void.
  8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries lost, damaged or delayed in the post, or due to computer error in transit.
  9. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. If the prize stated is ‘A Year of Gin’ or ‘A Year’s Supply of Gin’ this equates to 12 x 50cl bottles of Elephant London Dry Gin.
  10. The winner(s) is (are) responsible for expenses and arrangements not specifically included in the prizes, including any necessary travel documents, passports and visas.
  11. Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions.
  12. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions at any time and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition.
  13. In the event of a prize being unavailable, the promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value.
  14. Unless stated otherwise the winner(s) will be drawn at random from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material.
  15. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact the winner(s). If the winner(s) cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random, or in the event that the promotion is being judged the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the runner(s)-up selected by the same judges.
  16. Confirmation of the prize will be made in writing to the winner(s).
  17. Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize.
  18. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision.
  19. Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time.
  20. The provider of the prize is specified within the promotional material.
  21. The Promoter is Elephant Gin GmbH, Rosenstrasse 3, 19243 Wittenburg, Germany.
  22. In the event of a discrepancy between these standard terms and conditions and the details in the promotional material (or any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry), the details of the promotional material (and any other terms and conditions provided/referred to at the time of entry) shall prevail.