South African safaris are very popular holiday adventure tour for visitors to this stunning country and locals alike. The lure of the African wild and all of her inhabitants has resulted in numerous safari holiday packages being developed, each with more exciting features than the last. In a perfect world all elephants would be free; wandering around the bush, pushing down mopane trees, munching on elephant grass and generally hanging out with each other doing elephant-type things. But…
South African safaris are very popular holiday adventure tour for visitors to this stunning country and locals alike. The lure of the African wild and all of her inhabitants has resulted in numerous safari holiday packages being developed, each with more exciting features than the last. In a perfect world all elephants would be free; wandering around the bush, pushing down mopane trees, munching on elephant grass and generally hanging out with each other doing elephant-type things. But we do not live in a perfect world.
Between the cities and the farms, the area in which elephants can roam freely has been severely reduced, which is definitely a problem. And all kinds of “solutions”, which include culling, translocation and feeding female elephants hormonal contraceptives, have been suggested and tried. Some worked better than others, but none are without their drawbacks. And one of the problems produced by some of the solutions is that of orphan elephants.
Another real problem is the fact that ivory is seen as a desirable substance by a large proportion of the population with disposable income, so it is worth the risk and the karma to shoot elephants for their tusks. This, too, produces orphan elephants and results in yet another problem requiring another solution. One of the solutions to orphan baby elephants is to domesticate them. In theory they could be used to plough fields and lug timber around (as they are in Asia), but most domesticated elephants in South Africa are utilised in the tourism industry.
Elephant back safaris are not a new venture – Europeans have been shown around Africa astride elephants for many years. But never have there been so many places where you can ride atop an elephant. While this is good for tourism, and it is not all bad for the elephants involved, it is not an ideal situation either. You can go for a walk with a trained elephant and even, in some places, ride one, and while it is an awesome experience being so close to a wild animal, it’s a bitter-sweet pleasure.
Fortunately many of the places that offer elephant back safaris are dedicated to the support and sustainment of the elephants and their environment. The Addo Elephant Park is one of the best-known parks that are dedicated to the conservation of elephants. Addo Elephant Back Safaris and Lodges borders the Greater Addo Park. As well as the fantastic accommodation that you will find here, you can also walk with or ride the elephants through this scenic region.
Botlierskop Private Game Reserve is another reserve where you can enjoy a thrilling elephant back safari. Ride through the magnificent reserve astride one of these majestic beasts and take in the scenery like never before. And with more traditional South African safaris available here as well, you can enjoy the complete African experience.
Camp Jabulani in Limpopo was established by the wildlife visionary, Lente Roode, who gained custody of twelve elephants. This camp was to be the elephants’ new home where they could be sustained and supported. These elephants are quite used to humans and are fairly friendly. So, with the help of the expert grooms and handlers, climb atop one of these friendly beasts and enjoy a safari like no other.
Situated in the ancient Pilansberg Mountains is ‘The Elephant Wallow’. This is a special place where elephants and humans coexist in harmony, and where their lives intermingle. Chickwenya is one of the elephants who live here, and she and the rest of her friendly herd will be more than happy to take you on an elephant back safari.
If you are looking for a safari holiday with a difference, why not consider an elephant back safari? As well as being immersed in nature and having you interacting with the environment on an unprecedented level, you also stand to gain great insight into the lives of these wise creatures. For a South African safari unlike any other, make sure that you partake in an elephant back ride.