Often, when we are chatting about African wildlife with travelers, elephants rise to the top of the list of “animals I can’t wait to see in the wilderness.”
And it’s no surprise. These magnificent creatures are smart, incredibly sophisticated in their social structure, and of course the largest land mammal in the world. They also face significant threats today across the continent. As Daphne Sheldrick wrote in 1992, “elephants are a Flagship species vital to the tourist industry that is the arterial lifeblood of our East African economy. They mirror us humans in many ways – in terms of longevity, in terms of development, in terms of family ties and lifelong bonds of friendship. They have all the emotions of us humans – all the good traits and few of the bad.”
If you are eager to experience elephants in the wilderness on your next African safari, here are some destinations to consider building into your safari itinerary!
The Sheldrick Release Center in Tsavo National Park, Kenya
The Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage is a spectacular operation, located in Nairobi National Park. Here, you can witness (and support through donations) elephants and rhinos who are orphaned at too young of an age to survive in the wilderness on their own. After a few years here, the organization slowly releases and re-integrates them back into the wild. This release happens in Tsavo National Park.
This experience can be had from our favorite camp in the area, Campi ya Kanzi. You can do a short side trip to Ithumba Camp, a very basic, self-serve tented camp that is actually owned by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Ithumba Camp has only four large safari tents, which are covered from makuti roofs.
Immersive Walks Alongside Elephants in Botswana
These bush walks with elephants are a highlight for many of our clients. These walks focus on the full elephant conservation experience, offering you the unique opportunity to walk with elephants through the bush, observing them up close in the wild and getting to know their individual characters, while most importantly learning more about the importance of conservation from local guides and researchers.
Most interestingly, you will really get to know these elephants and their unique personalities. Cathy is the matriarch and Naledi the youngest (and naughtiest), who together form the heart of the interactive elephant experience.