Last Updated on February 15, 2023
We had always dreamed about getting up close to an elephant, instead of just seeing an elephant from a distance in a zoo. The thought of getting to touch an elephant and see an elephant from up close, admiring their every “wrinkle” and other incredible features would excite us to no end.
While we were in Johannesburg, South Africa, we had the opportunity to get up close to these magnificent creatures , African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana), at Hartbeespoort Dam, which is nestled in the Magaliesberg Mountains, about an hour outside of Johannesburg.
We were unsure of what to expect, but found that The Elephant Sanctuary provided a ‘safe haven’ for the elephants as well as giving visitors the unique opportunity to become better educated and have some real one-on one interaction.
Our guide started by having us gather around elephant skulls and posters and took us through the anatomy and special characteristics of an elephant.
After our introduction to elephants was finished, we began our walk to the first part of our interactions. Throughout our session, we were able to touch, feel, feed, and walk trunk-in-hand with magnificent animals.
It was interesting to see how each elephant really did have its own personality and temperament. It was obvious these graceful, gentle giants are truly highly intelligent and amazing creatures.
The Elephant Sanctuary also provides a unique “halfway house” for young African elephants in need of a temporary home. It is the only operation in South Africa that provides for elephants in this way. It is their hope that once the elephants are older that they are able to be released into an environment where the elephants can be more independent.
The majority of people will never have the opportunity to come close or even touch these animals, so if you have the opportunity, do not pass up this exhilarating experience!
- Elephants are considered “hairless”, but do have hair appearing sparsely over their body that is not noticeable from a distance. It is supposed to help heat escape their body.
- Elephants deal with heat in a variety of ways, such as by flapping their ears like fans.
- Elephant hair is extremely thick and each strand is almost plastic-like.
We’ll let the photos do the rest of the “talking”:
Have you ever had a up-close experience with an elephant? What was it like?