This impressive tusker was named in honor of ex-ranger Ben Pretorius who worked in the Kruger National Park (SA) from 1966 – 2001. Ben was respectfully known by his Field Rangers as Masbambela, meaning ‘one who can “stand his man” in the workplace as well as by his physical strength.

He’s been most spotted west of Shingwedzi, generally well away from the main tourist routes, and at Gumbandevu (Punda Maria) and Red Rocks (Shingwedzi).
Masambela had two very symmetrical tusks curving inward at the tips. The left tusk was broken before his death and was detected in the 2006 census. There was a small round hole in the right ear towards the middle of the lobe and he was known to have a protuberant growth on his scrotum area in later years.

It was estimated that Masbambela’s tusks were probably only second in size to Duke’s (the biggest at the time in Kruger National Park).

The carcass of this bull was located on 7th November 2006 in the Mponda block of the Woodlands section by then ranger David Manganye. He sadly had broken his left tusk before he died, the date of the break is unknown, but was detected in the 2006 census in August 2006. The missing piece was never recovered.


Text credit: South African National Parks

Photo credit: Johan Marais