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The True Story of Kabakwe

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

One of the greatest tuskers of southern Africa, Kabakwe roamed in the great gorges of the Zambezi Valley & favoured dwelling on the slopes of the Nyamatongwe massif, a huge plateau which dominates Gonarezhou, Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). The legendary bull (with tusks of 45 kgs each, the biggest of recent times) was the first to be given special legal protection from hunting.

Because of the importance of this majestic bull, Rhodesia’s National Parks dept. darted him, stamped his ivory, & fitted him with a radio collar.

However, in 1979, Kabakwe was shot in the Malapati hunting area adjacent to Gonarezhou.

Although no one was ever prosecuted or convicted for having killed Kabakwe, careful investigation work by conservation officials identified the alleged professional poacher, working with an allegedly corrupt Zim Parks officer at Chipinda Pools. The tusks were later advertised for sale in a South African national newspaper before disappearing off the radar.

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