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Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Santa Cruz...
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Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Looking for reviews, very expensive, but we really want to do this. No reviews on trip advisor and just 1 short review via google. Any feedback is appreciated

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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1. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

if you have seen their web site - http://www.pilanesbergelephantback.co.za/ - you will see that this operation has its roots in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, as part of Wild Horizons where they have been operating elephant rescue and elephant-back safaris for many years. This one was opened near Pilanesberg almost 10 years ago. I have known the White family and some of their staff in Vic Falls for many years and my clients for the Falls frequently do the elephant-back activity there. If the budget will bear it, I expect you would find it worthwhile.

Stanley, Falkland...
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2. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

My 2 cents - I don't think the African elephant is like the Indian. It cannot be 'domesticated', in my inexpert opinion.

Sure a few animals might allow you to sit on them, but they are still wild animals, liable to be unpredictable.

Cape Town
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3. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

I really have to agree with peterscot. I think these elephant back safaris are accidents waiting to happen.

Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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4. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

I understand your reasons and have some of the same reservations about the practice. On the other hand, I have been to the Wild Horizons elephant site in Vic Falls, seen how pampered these animals are. They could never be returned to the bush and need lifetime care. The day I rode 'Jock', I came back to the main barn and gave him a bath. Washed him myself. And yes, it was fun. For travelers who have heard of this activity and wonder about it, I am comfortable telling them what I know.

On a separate thread, I could also talk about being uncomfortable with 'walking safaris'. The idea that a Ranger, leading his guests, could justify killing an animal that didn't like intrusion into its territory makes no sense to me. But this is a widespread part of the safari experience, so I must be wrong, somehow.

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Interesting points, Dave. Yes, I agree walking safaris are risky, and I doubt anyone who goes on them doesn't realise that. I would expect a ranger/guide to do all in his power to avoid an animal confrontation. It doesn't do anyone any good, not the animal or him.

But I sense that some people regard elephant-back trips in a similar way to horseback rides. Unlike you, I can't speak from experience, so I just pointed out that these are still wild animals, and let the OP make up their mind.

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Thanks everyone. We have decided to just visit the elephants and not actually ride them. That will save us a LOT of money and we can still see them :)

Good discussion

Pilanesberg...
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7. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Hi CM...no no no - I thought you said "we really want to do this" So what the hell, seize the moment - it's only money! When you are 80 you might just look back and say "I should have".......

I've had 2 lots of local SA clients that have done it twice

I haven't done it, but I have done the elephant interaction. If you decide to do that instead just don't. For less $ you get a far more amazing and informative experience at http://www.elephantsanctuary.co.za/ - just don't do the lunch - I feel it is overpriced. It's on the way between Jo'burg and Sun City

Alternatively, ride the wild beasts :)

Cape Town
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8. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Carmamarie I think a good decision. I agree with peters and Mark(SA-Guide). The African Elephant is not a tameable domestic animal like the Indian Elephant. Bringing African Elephants into a semi-tame tourist environment is realy not a good Idea. And why on earth do this in South Africa which has many thousands of "wild" elephants that people are able to see in the natural environment within the millions of hectares of our National Parks?

In a different place there was a very serious attack by a "tame" elephant at the Knysna Elephant Park just a few days ago. See :

…blogspot.com/2011/06/elephant-handler-criti…

See also the comment on this attack from the SASPCA : "The National Council of SPCAs on Monday said the incident reiterated why animals should be left in the wild and not removed from their natural environments “for use in the entertainment sector”.

“Wild animals will always remain wild and will eventually retaliate,” spokesperson Vonny Strachan said in a statement.

She said there had been numerous attacks on handlers by captive elephants in the country as well as worldwide.

“We urge the public not to support facilities that use animals for financial gain and entertainment,” she said.

“The public should rather enjoy the immense and diverse wildlife this country possesses in their natural environments.” - iol.co.za/news/south-africa/handler-trampled…

Edited: 12 June 2011, 13:50
Port Elizabeth
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for South Africa
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9. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

It is also a question as to how the elephants were tamed in the first place.

sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/html/tuli_elephan…

All I can say is first go to one of the game reserves (whether a moderately-expensive to expensive private reserve or an inexpensive government operated one) and watch animals in their natural environment before you want to play with/ride on so-called semi-wild animals.

Gerrards Cross
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10. Re: Elephant back safari-anyone been?

Wouldn't go near them again. We did one three years ago and my daughter had an accident and broke her back and was hpspitalised for a long and expensive period in RSA. She's better now.

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