Dimensions: 4 metres (height) by 7 metres (length)
Weight: 6 tonnes
Active: Diurnal and nocturnal
African Elephant Safaris
It is impossible to truly appreciate the grandeur of the African elephant until you observe them in their natural environment. Behold their sheer size and strength as they ravage the vegetation to appease their insatiable appetite. Melt at the heart as a calf crosses your path. Hold your breath as a large bull curiously approaches your vehicle. Interactions with elephants evokes emotion on all levels.
The African elephant, along with the lion, is the most iconic species on the African plains. Due to its sheer size, formidable strength and apparent ‘cuteness’, it is a favourite amongst many of our clients.
There are 2 species of elephants across the globe, the Asian elephant and the African elephant, the latter being further divided into two sub-species, the savanna elephant and forest elephant. Astonishingly, despite it being the largest terrestrial mammal, its closest relatives are the water dwelling dugong and manatee, as well as its African cousin, the diminutive hyrax.
Female elephants live in large herds whilst males leave the herd at maturity and may live a solitary existence. Males can grow as tall as 4 metres in height, 7 metres in length, and weigh as much as 6 tonnes.
Elephants are both diurnal and nocturnal. The reason for this is to enable them to satisfy their huge nutritional requirements, often eating up to 150 kg of vegetation and drinking 40 litres of water per day. You will often see them nonchalantly devouring food whilst moving between water sources.
The fact they are active day and night and are huge grey animals living in large herds ensures elephants provide very easy game viewing. It would be very unusual and extremely unlucky to return home from any safari having not seen an elephant. However, they are migratory and will follow their thirst so if you find yourself in a reserve without a permanent water source in the dry season you may find all the elephants have already left. It is therefore recommended to discuss your desires with us so we can design an itinerary that significantly increases your chances of observing these iconic giants.
Southern Africa is the stronghold of the African elephant with 70% of all animals residing here, with Botswana being home to more elephants than any other country. Chobe National Park in the north-east of the country is quite literally jam-packed full of huge herds, as is the Okavango Delta. Zimbabwe is an excellent place to head for elephant lovers. Its flagship reserve, Hwange National Park, is renowned for its huge densities with an estimated 44,000 residents. Further north in the country is Mana Pools National Park, a wilderness area where you will find yourself walking alongside these huge animals. It is also here where they are seen reaching for food by standing on their back legs. Tarangire National Park, located in northern Tanzania, provides a dry season oasis for thousands of elephants migrating to the Tarangire River in search of water. Possibly the most famous place in Africa for elephants is Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. It is here you can view elephants with magnificent views of Mt Kilimanjaro as an awe-inspiring backdrop. Kruger National Park and the aptly named Addo Elephant National Park are the places to go in South Africa.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have listed the African elephant as vulnerable. However, we are pleased to report the good news of a recent population recovery. This is due to a 4% per annum increase amongst their largest populations in East and Southern Africa. There are an estimated 415,000 individuals living in the wild, divided into 350,000 savanna elephants and 75,000 forest elephants. Although relatively healthy populations, these numbers are still considerably lower than the 3-5 million elephants that roamed Africa in the 1900's. The main threats to their survival is overwhelmingly poaching for their ivory and meat. Habitat loss and fragmentation remains an ongoing issue due to their migratory nature. This necessity to move over large areas inevitably places them at risk of conflict with humans.
By electing to visit these elegant animals with Ultimate Wildlife Adventures you are contributing to their protection and chances of future survival, as well as signing up for an experience of a lifetime.
Contact us to discuss how we can include the elephant in your perfect African safari holiday.
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