Yesterday we blogged about swimming with the world’s largest fish – today we turn to the land and report on riding the African elephant – planet earth’s largest land mammal.
Photo courtesy of Dana Allen and Wilderness Safaris
Riding an elephant has long been associated with the Indian elephant but only relatively recently have their African cousins been used for transporting people. www.southafrica.info takes up the story.
‘In 1997 a three-month-old elephant bull was found stuck in a silt dam near Hoedspruit in Limpopo. Discovered by Lente Roode, founder of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre and now owner of Camp Jabulani, the exhausted and malnourished elephant calf was immediately taken to the centre.’
In 2002 Roode bought 12 trained elephants from Zimbabwe and introduced them to the the calf who had been called Jabulani – meaning ‘happiness’ and now 5 years old – and he became part of the herd. This was the start of safaris on elephant back in South Africa.
South Africa is not alone as a destination for safaris on elephant – two of the more famous locations where you can go on elephant back safaris are the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
The great advantage in viewing from such a vantage point is that the game is not frightened by the approach of an elephant with a strange lump on its back and so you can observe the animals in their natural environment.
In the video below from jonisea you can see how unperturbed the giraffe are as the elephants walk past. This video is shot in Zambia. At Jabulani Camp – named after the 3 month old elephant stuck in silt and saved – in South Africa there is a chance of being able to see from your elephant Africa’s ‘Big Five’ – namely the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino – now that would be an extreme ride.