Elephants hold a huge draw for people on luxury safaris, and it’s no surprise – these amazing animals have intricate family ties, and human like emotions. Much research has been done on the elephant and it remains one of the most fascinating animals to see on any luxury safari. Elephants are currently being heavily persecuted for their ivory, and now is the time to visit Africa and see these gentle giants. There is almost nothing better than watching baby elephants role around in the mud, or play with their siblings. African elephants are larger than their Indian counterparts and this can make watching them both humbling and awe inspiring. They move through the bush almost silently and are the real undisputed kings of the jungle. There are hundreds of conservation projects currently working on over drive to protect these magical beasts from poaching, but the battle is still very much ongoing. Here are the top ten luxury safari properties from which one can watch elephants.
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya is breath-takingly beautiful with rolling hills, views of Mount Kenya, open plains and marshes surrounded by yellow fever trees. Sirikoi is an exceptionally special luxury safari camp boasting both tents and two private houses. From Sirikoi you can often watch family groups of elephant come down to drink at the waterhole in front of camp, and once you head out onto the plains with your private Samburu guide you will be treated to huge vistas often dotted with family groups of elephant.
Samburu National Park has long been known as one of the best places to see elephant and this is due to the Ewaso Nyiro River which runs through it. Sometimes you will be lucky enough to see large groups of elephant come together to play, mock fight and frolic in the murky river waters. Saruni offers a true paradise of a lodge with exceptional guides, food and some of the best views in all of Kenya.
Richard’s Camp is owned by Richard Roberts who started the Mara Elephant Project, so if you do want to see elephants you can go with one of the Richard’s Camp guides, all of whom really know their stuff when it comes to the elephants of the Masai Mara. This luxury tented camp is quirky and unique with a relaxed and warm atmosphere, and you will often have exceptional game viewing from your own luxury safari tent.
Sausage Tree is very special – you might even bump into an elephant on your way from your vast tented suite to the main area, as it makes its way down into the Zambezi River to feast on the long grasses and enjoy swimming (trunks make a fantastic snorkel). There are elephants everywhere here and you will not go for longer than a few minutes without seeing one.
Tena Tena is set in its own private conservancy with the Luangwa River separating it from the South Luangwa National Park – wonderful scenes will play out before you whilst on drives or in front of camp, with elephants heading down to the river to drink. When the waters are shallow you can watch them protect the little ones from approaching crocodiles. Tena Tena is run by the famous Robin Pope Safaris and has absolutely everything you could want in a luxury safari camp.
Chindeni is set in a wild and remote area of the South Luangwa – your luxury rooms are elevated above a lagoon below, and you can while away the day watching elephants below from your comfy hammock. From this luxury camp you can also see the Chindeni Mountains, which make the most amazing photographic backdrop when there are elephants browsing beneath them. Chindeni is called a bushcamp, but feels exceptionally luxurious and boasts wonderful guides and delicious food.
Chief’s Camp is one of Botswana’s most luxurious safari camps and is impossibly spoiling. Everything here is perfect and that goes for the game viewing too. Chief’s Island is perhaps one of the most famous game viewing destinations in Africa and of course the elephant viewing here will not disappoint. Often you will be watching herds of elephants from the comfort of your verandah or the main area. You don’t have to go far here to see abundant elephant.
Savute is absolutely pumping with game and this includes elephant. Savute Under Canvas is an authentic but comfortable luxury safari camp which really feels as if it is truly in the wilds. Here you can enjoy a mobile camp without having to pay the premium to take it exclusively. Savute Under Canvas has the most magical location which will certainly fulfill all your desires when it comes to game viewing, and experiencing the romance of a luxury tented camp.
Somalisa has a classic elegance to it which comes naturally, and this luxury safari camp certainly delivers when it comes to elephant. There are many famous photographs of elephant coming right up to the deck in front of the camp – this is because large herds of elephant congregate on the pan which is directly in front of this amazing camp. With only six luxury rooms you will certainly feel as if you are in one of Africa’s most exclusive camps, which indeed you are.
Madikwe Hills is incredibly luxurious but has such a warm and friendly atmosphere that you feel as if you can throw your shoes off and walk around in your dressing gown (which they wouldn’t mind about at all!). There is a waterhole in front of the lodge which attracts elephant every day, but Madikwe itself is just fantastic for elephant, everywhere you turn there will be small family groups or larger herds, and the red dust and amazing sunsets make for some magical photographs.
Rose Hipwood is Managing Director of The Luxury Safari Company.