3 reasons an elephant back safari is a must

The term elephant back safaris can sound a little forced, a little touristy and unappealing. On a recent trip to South Africa we discovered why this just isn’t the case. These gentle giants are a huge draw for those going on safari for the first time. It is their human like emotions which make them so fascinating to watch. Their family ties and relationships are deep and intense and a morning spent sitting out in the bush with a breeding herd is completely magical. Elephants are sadly being heavily persecuted in certain parts of Africa for their ivory – there are huge campaigns going on all over the world to try and stop this barbaric illegal trade. Elephants hold people mesmerized and wonderfully moving stories of their behaviour and actions either towards humans or other animals, or just their own specie, are told every day. Here are our top 3 reasons that an elephant back safari is a must:

Elephant conservation

The elephants used for elephant back safaris are not just taken from the wild and habituated for us to ride – often they have been rescued from horrible situations, or hopeless situations they found themselves in through no fault of their own. Camp Jabulani not only has orphaned Jabulani, but they also rescued several elephants from a farm in Zimbabwe which was about to be ruthlessly taken – all the elephants would have certainly be killed for their meat.

Elephant back safaris

Our guide at Camp Jabulani explained that the elephants used for elephant back safaris in Africa are not forced to do anything, after all how possible is it to actually force an elephant to do something? They do it because they want to, and they even enjoy it. These properties provide a safe haven of love and fun for animals which are unhappy in captivity or have fallen into the wrong hands.

An elephant’s perspective

They look big from the ground, but they feel even bigger when you’re stuck on top like a pea in a pod. Luckily the calm nature of these elephants means that you immediately feel at ease as their tranquility rubs off on the rider. They trudge slowly through the bush gently snatching at branches and trees and asking for treats from their handler when they feel they’ve done something good (which is all the time!). To see the bush from this level is amazing, we always recommend getting as many different views of the bush as possible – this is certainly a unique one.

Elephant back safaris

An insight into elephant’s minds

As mentioned to watch an elephant is completely fascinating. Their relationships with other elephants are strong and you can see it when you watch them graze, or play in mud wallows and dams. Talking to the elephant keepers gives further insight into their different personality traits, how the hierarchy works and generally gives guests a chance to get a really close up look at how an elephant thinks, and how he lives his life.

Elephant back safaris

Their intelligence is staggering and humbling, as is the way they kindly look after you as you walk out into the bush with the sun setting behind you. The whole experience is very special and one that we would recommend to anyone.

Rose Hipwood is Managing Director of The Luxury Safari Company.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Penelope says:

    Certainly an interesting perspective to listen to the other side of the story than to simply assume that all these operations abuse their animals. In this case, as well as others that I am familiar with in Thailand for example, they were much worse off in their prior situation…!

  2. Jake Ryan says:

    I would love to do this, Elephants are such beautiful animals. My bucket list is filled with animal related travelling, safaris etc.

  3. Anna says:

    Great to finally see a note about elephants. You should also try to do elephant bathing, not only trekking. Safe travels!

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