Elephant Behaviour

The following document regarding elephant behaviour has been compiled by Audrey Delsink. Thank you, Audrey for allowing us to place this on our site to assist visitors and landowners in the DGR to understand elephant behaviour. Please take the time to read this before you visit the reserve to help understand our elephants in their space.

ESAG Elephant Communication brochure (Audrey Delsink).pdf



The following information is as per the Environmental management Plan (EMP) for the Dinokeng Game Reserve.
The DGR has been established by the Gauteng Provincial Government and private landowners to capitalize on the relatively unspoilt natural environment in the context of the Gauteng Province for the promotion of tourism and the creation of a high quality tourism destination that will result in socio-economic upliftment of the communities in the adjoining area.

The current DGR is situated on the north eastern quadrant of the Gauteng Province of South Africa between latitudes 25°40’00”S and 25°10’00”Sand longitudes 28°15’00”E and 28°40’00”E comprising 18 500 ha.


The two main geological groups that are present in the DGR are the Bushveld Complex and representatives of Karoo Sediments.

Bushveld Complex
Two formations of the Bushveld Complex are present in the current DGR. Granite and granophyres of the Lebowa and Rashoop Suites and the rhyolites of the Rooiberg Group.

Karoo Sediments
Karoo Sediments of the Ecca group occur in the DGR as mudstone and sandstone.


The south-eastern part of the DGR on rhyolite is a rolling landscape with gradual slopes. The central area of the DGR on granite and granophyres is more distinctly undulating with definite crests, mid-slopes and bottomlands.
The northern section is very flat and developed on the Karoo Sediments.

There are three main drainage systems that help create the present topography i.e. the Pienaars River System, the Kaallaagte Systems and the Boekenhoutspruit System.


As is the case in most areas, the soils that develop depend primarily on the geological formation rainfall and slope. The different soil types in the DGR can be related to the three main geological parent materials, i.e. rhyolite, granite and Karoo Sediments.  Rhyolitic soils are darker in colour, contain more clay and the sand fraction is medium to fine. Granite soils are yellow/brown in colour, contains less clay and the sand fraction is medium to coarse. The soils derived from the Karoo Sediments vary in colour, texture, clay content and nutrients depending on whether it originated from shales or sandstone.


Differences in geology, topography and associated differences in soil types and drainage regime result in differences in vegetation. Each topographical unit therefore represents a different ecosystem, with its own set of habitat conditions and its own plant species composition. Each plant community also represents specific habitats for certain animal species.

Taking all the above into consideration 15 plant vegetation types were identified for the DGR. In summary these are:

1)    Open Combretum apiculatum veld on Rhyolite.
2)    Dense Combretum apiculatum/Combretum zeyheri bushveld on rhyolite.
3)    Open Mundulea sericea/Combretum molle shrubveld on rocky rhyolite ridges.
4)    Rhyolite floodplains and riparian vegetation complex.
5)    Dense Combretum apiculatum bushveld on granite.
6)    Terminalia sericea/Burkea Africana bushveld on granite.
7)    Peltophorum africanum/Terminalia  sericea bushveld on granite and sandstone
8)    Grassy floodplains with scattered Terminalia sericea veld on granite.
9)    Floodplains and reparian vegetation complex on granite and Karoo Sediments.
10)    Tarchonanthus camphorates/Boscia albitrunca bushveld on Karoo Sediments.
11)    Open Acacia tortilis floodplains on shales.
12)    Dense Acacia tortilis/Combretum apiculatum bushveld on Karoo Sediment elevations.
13)    Acacia tortilis/Acacia mellifera/Terminalia sericea complex on granite bottomland and on Karoo Sediments.
14)    Mixed Bontveld with bush clumps on Karoo Sediments.
15)    Acacia robusta/Euclea undulate brackish thornveld on shales.


The DGR area experiences summer rainfall patterns in the form of thunder storms which can be variable and erratic. Rainfall varies from 350mm to 750mm per season. Temperatures vary between 0° and 40° with a long term daily average of 21°.


The DGR is the only reserve in the Gauteng province that houses the Big 5 (elephant, lion, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard). It also boasts cheetah and brown hyena and a big variety of ungulates and giraffe.


Compiled by Mr. Lynn van Rooyen

Operations Manager of the DGROctober 2013