We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Kruger National...
Level Contributor
1,941 posts
51 reviews
Save Topic
Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Hi team TA,

As many of you know, I live on a game reserve in the Kruger area, and am quite against the lion interactions offered by many operators (as they are 99% of the time sent to canned hunting farms), but I am interested to hear if anyone has any information about Elephant back safaris that are offered at various places throughout South Africa.

I am trying really hard to find information about the cons about this (other than the obvious) and am wondering if anyone else can provide any insight?

Often, the story is that the elephants are 'rescued' (I use quotation marks because how do we really know this is the truth?) from poachers or from being culled, and trained to give rides to tourists.. There is a lot of information about the lion interactions, but I can't seem to find much about elephant back rides!

I guess that anything that takes an animal out of their natural environment, and uses them for human benefit and entertainment is probably not ethical? The treatment behind closed doors is probably very different than what we see. The only info I can find is:

http://www.elephanttrust.org/node/376

Looking forward to your comments,

Jacqui

Edited: 08 April 2013, 10:52
Naracoorte
Level Contributor
2,861 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Thanks Jacqui for trying to gather information on this activity. I would really like to know more also.

Here's hoping someone can shed some light on how this works in reality rather than any green washed version. :)

Kruger National...
Level Contributor
1,941 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Before I was 'awake', I did an elephant back safari a few years ago, and remember wondering whether it was ethical or not. Surely the people who 'rescued' the animals could have just as easily let them free on their land, rather than make money from them?

Anyway.. Looking forward to hearing some information from anyone who has. It is always good to be educated before making decisions or blurting opinions :-)

J

Table View, South...
Level Contributor
1,040 posts
95 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

There is a Facebook group called Save The Elephants that I track. Post your query there and we hope they can provide some feedback.

https://www.facebook.com/STE.SouthAfrica

Hazyview, South...
Level Contributor
3,783 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

A very good questions and I hope an interesting discussion will come out of it.

We have been at the Elephant Sanctuary here in Hazyview and believe what we were told, that these Elies are rescued and would otherwise certainly be dead. It was a wonderful experience and we felt comfortable, that these Elephants are treated good and trained with internationally accepted methods.

At least that's what we believe and what we were told. I would be devastated to hear anything different.

Otherwise I do not believe that any under normal circumstances wild animal should be domesticated and trained for human pleasure. That's why I do not support any of the so called "rehab centers".

But I am looking forward to being educated via this thread wrt Elephants.

Klaus

-Owner Abangane-

Hazyview

Edited: 08 April 2013, 13:25
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
450 posts
105 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Jacqui,

Did you ever find out much about this? Friends of mine want to go to a certain lodge and I've just seen on their website that they offer elephant-back safaris. This makes me a little uneasy about going. Would be great to know what you uncovered???

Andrew

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
4,984 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Hi Andrew

Like that you are cautious, everyone knows how I feel.

As far as I am concerned anything offering animal human interaction is out. One way or the other it will involve 'training', and /or locking up, caged, or whatever. Ugghh.

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
4,984 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Jacqui just regarding the lions.

There are stories coming out at the moment about places that rip the cubs away from their mothers and use them for parties and weddings etc, as well as touristic purposes.

Just imagine what this does to both the cubs and the mothers, it beggars belief. I feel sick and heartbroken that these practices are even legal. The government has a lot more to answer for than just rhino poaching

SOUTH AFRICA
Level Contributor
2,544 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

I agree with sandsman about the role of the government. If only we could in the mean time educate enough locals as well as visitors to Africa to please NOT support these type of establishments!

Tanya * owner * Africa Direct

Andros
Level Contributor
89 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

What an interesting discussion. I absolutely agree with the view that 'petting' and using animals this way is not acceptable - it will always lead to 'supply and demand' but as a visitor, how can you distinguish between those organizations who are truly dedicated to preservation and release?

I will be visiting in November and had initially thought to do an 'elephant' experience offered close to Nelspruit. There seems an optional elephant ride which to me seemed not quite right. Is there ever an acceptable way to get close to elephants? Surely there are situations where they are in fact rescued from zoos or have to be hand raised when orphaned etc?

Or am I being naive......

Gold Coast...
Destination Expert
for Kruger National Park
Level Contributor
4,984 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Elephant back safaris (related to 'lion interactions'.

Hello there

''Is there ever an acceptable way to get close to elephants?''

There most certainly is, and that’s to visit them in the National Parks where they are naturally wild, Kruger, Addo, and more including some great reserves in the KZN province.

As you will be in Nelspruit, I am guessing that you will be visiting Kruger? If so you will see elephants! You will see them in all areas of the park, big beautiful bulls with elegant tusks wandering along the roads and through the bush, knocking over a few trees as they go. Or large breeding herds with all sizes from little babies to big mothers, aunties and cantankerous teenagers, slowly making their way across the road in front of you as they head to the river or waterhole.

Or you will see them playing in the dams, an incredible sight to behold as they push each other under the water or disappear underneath the surface using their trunks as snorkels.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record I just cannot understand the concept of travelling all the way to Africa to see the wildlife anywhere but in the wild. I also hope that like many once you have seen these amazing beasts naturally you will not like to see them in captivity.

The only real place I know of that DOES rescue elephants and DOES release them back into the wild is the famous Daphne Sheldrick centre located in Nairobi Kenya. The sad fact is that the poaching crisis there has escalated so much that there is a huge quantity of elephants passing through while healing.

No not naïve…I would like to think doing some research then acting on and taking note of what goes on is the right thing to do.

Thank you for considering