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5 Unforgettable Elephant Experiences

August 6th, 2021, by Chelsea Todaro

The continent of Africa is home to a vital member of the world’s ecosystem, elephants. The majestic and fascinating animals are an unforgettable part of any safari.

Elephants are famous for their large ears and muscular trunks. However, Safari lovers may not know about their important role in maintaining other species survival in Africa, which is why conserving them and celebrating their life is essential. There are many sustainable ways travelers can connect with elephants on safari.

Here are some of the most unforgettable elephant experiences and interesting facts about these diverse animals.


Protecting Kenya’s Elephants

Elephant calves at Reteti. Credit: Ami Vitale

Protecting our elephant species is an important task for conservancies across Africa, particularly the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary at Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy, which is Kenya’s first community owned and managed elephant orphanage.

You can get a behind the scenes tour of Reteti with an elephant keeper on our Captivating Kenya safari, watching the elephants receive their bottles and play in the mud, all the while learning valuable skills so that they might be re-introduced into the wild. You can also learn about the incredible efforts made at Reteti from Ami Vitale’s short documentary film, Shaba.

Featured in Captivating Kenya and many other journeys, you can also visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi to learn about their elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program, with the opportunity to sponsor and adopt an elephant - another great way to see conservation in action!

FUN FACT: The world’s largest land mammal, elephants help Africa’s wildlife kingdom thrive through their large diet of fruit that scatters seeds across the environment. They are constantly eating, and disperse plant matter more than any other animal on the African continent!


Photographer's Dream

At Kenya’s Amboseli National Park roam a special species of elephants known for their enormous tusks, a great opportunity for photographers who can see these creatures with the gorgeous backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, which can be experienced on our World’s Greatest Show and Safari.

Another special photo opportunity, you can get up close and personal with Jabulani’s rescued resident herd of elephants on our South Africa Regal Retreat- perhaps during a sundowner with the colors of pink, yellow and orange hues?  When guests book this safari or visit Jabulani on a tailor-made trip, contributions will be made towards fostering an elephant.

FUN FACT:  Elephant tusks are enlarged teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Their tusks continue growing throughout their lives.


Wonderful Water Safaris in Botswana

Elephants at Chobe National Park

Elephants in Botswana are a sight to see as their massive population is supreme, outnumbering people in certain areas. Chobe National Park is home to the largest remaining population of African elephants, and you can see them passing frequently through camps.

Elephants are highly intelligent. The pristine herds in Botswana’s Okavango Delta are not shy to humans, and some have been known to stand on their hind legs to reach for food in the trees. Vumbura Plains’ raised wooden walkways connect all suites to the main camp providing you a great opportunity to see these incredible herds, as featured on our Connoisseur’s Collection.

“Last time I was at Vumbura Plains an elephant helped itself to the clean water in my plunge pool, as I sat on the deck just a few feet away.  The walkways will occasionally dip down to ground level in areas where elephant frequently walk to allow them to pass through camp unobstructed.  I was told to pause and look both ways before crossing those spots because elephant have the right of way.”  – Susannah Zani


Walking With Elephants in Zambia

Zambia is the birthplace of the walking safari, and what better way to explore elephants than with them on foot? The remote South Luangwa National Park is 5,000 square miles and is considered one of Africa’s last true wildernesses – and probably Southern Africa’s best kept secret.

The intimate bush camp, Mfuwe Lodge, featured on our Zambia Leopards, Lions and Tiger Fish, is famous for its family of elephants walking through the lobby and reception area!

“They do it every year as the wild mango fruit ripen, carefully passing through the lodges reception area to make their way to the courtyard at the center of the property.” – Susannah Zani 

FUN FACT: Elephants can communicate through vibrations they create in the ground, which can be detected through their bones.


Namibia’s Desert Adapted Elephants

Elephants near Hoanib Valley Camp

Namibia is a special place to see a unique herd of desert-dwelling elephants. Estimated to only consist of 150, this small group of elephants have made their home in the Namib desert developing adaptations to the extreme temperatures and terrain.

On our Deserts and Dunes of Namibia you’ll spot these special herds during game drives in Kaokoland through the sandy terrain. The intimate Hoanib Valley Camp blends seamlessly with the environment allowing rangers to track these endangered elephants.

FUN FACT: An elephant’s skin is 2.5cm thick. The folds and wrinkles in their skin can retain up to 10 times more water, which helps to cool them down.


Contact our African Travel Specialists

800 421 8907

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