Once you have stood in the presence of a wild elephant, nothing is ever quite the same again. There is definitely something about these gentle giants that touches all of us. Maybe it’s their enormous size or their wise demeanour. But whatever it is, no African safari is complete without encountering one of nature’s most magnificent beasts.

Here is a list of Sanctuary Retreats’ favourite elephant encounters for you to enjoy on your next African safari.

Walking with Elephants

Fancy an elephant as your tour guide? Now you can live the dream with Sanctuary Retreats’ unique elephant interaction in partnership with the Living with Elephants Foundation in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

Stay at Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp or Sanctuary Baines’ Camp and you can meet with Jabu and Morula, two semi-habituated orphaned elephants. Observe and interact with them while walking in their footsteps at a leisurely pace through the wilderness. For a truly uplifting experience guaranteed to leave a lasting impression, this activity is a must.

Sundowners at Chobe National Park

Not for nothing has Botswana’s Chobe National Park earned the moniker, elephant capital of the world! Home to some 100,000 elephants, Chobe National Park has the highest population of wild elephants in Africa. Whether explored by vehicle or boat, it’s the perfect destination for those wishing for an encounter of the tusked kind.

Chobe’s elephants tend to venture down to the river in late afternoon, sometimes in their hundreds, so seeing them from the boat on a sundowner cruise is almost guaranteed. Watching them as they wade through the river at sunset, with their trunks peeping out of the water, makes for incredible photography opportunities.

Elephants at Camp

You don’t always even have to travel far from your camp to get up close and personal with the local elephants; quite often they’ll come to you!

While staying at any one of Sanctuary Retreats’ camps, it’s quite common to be visited by one or even a whole herd of these inquisitive colossi. They’re often spotted frequenting the waterholes at Sanctuary Swala, but can also be seen in Sanctuary Retreats’ Sussi & Chuma and Puku Ridge camps, Chichele Presidential Lodge in Zambia and many more.

Several years ago, a herd of 20 elephants moved into the grounds of Tanzania’s Sanctuary Kusini Camp, taking advantage of the abundance of water and food in the woodland surrounding the camp. Guests were awoken to the grumbling sounds of interacting elephants and treated to a very close encounter indeed as the inquisitive pachyderms explored the campgrounds!

Little Elephants in South Luangwa National Park

The elephants of South Luangwa National Park in Zambia are some of the most intriguing in the whole of Africa. Not only are they comparatively smaller than related species elsewhere on the continent, but a large proportion of them are born without tusks. In fact, a whopping 38% of the elephants in the park are tuskless thanks to a genetic anomaly. For pachyderm connoisseurs out there, meeting these elephants will definitely be one to tick off the list.


For more information about Sanctuary Retreats and its extended stay offer, please visit: www.sanctuaryretreats.com


Africa; Botswana; Okavango Delta; Sanctuary Baines’ Camp; Elephant interaction
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