From their brassy trumpets and flapping ears to their swarthy gait and ivory tusks: elephants are one of the most recognisable animals in Africa. Not only are they on everyone’s safari bucket list because of their Big 5 status, but they are also revered for their sheer size and strength as the largest land mammals on earth, as well as the intricate social structures within their herds. Are elephants ‘must-sees’ on your upcoming safari holiday? Come with us, we know all the best places to see them.
Elephant sightings are frequent in South Africa if you know the right place to go. Kruger National Park is an obvious pick thanks to its high concentrations of elephant (and the Big 5 in general), while the neighbouring Kapama Private Game Reserve is also a winning combination. Camp Jabulani is found in the Greater Kruger Area and allows visitors to get up close and personal with these gentle giants. Moving down towards the coast, The Eastern Cape's Addo region is renowned for its elephants — particularly the Addo Elephant National Park. The highest densities of elephants on the planet can be found here.
After the Masai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park is the second most-frequented in Kenya. It offers some of the best views of Kilimanjaro just across the border, and of the free-ranging African elephants that are subject to the longest ongoing elephant study in the wild. Visitors are warned that malaria is found in the area and the necessary precautions should be taken before visiting.
The semi-arid savannahs of Ruaha National Park’s rolling plains are scattered with acacias, baobabs and overhanging forest. This is an ideal environment for our soft-footed friends, so it will come as no surprise that this park is said to have the highest concentration of African elephants in all of East Africa. Visitors will be pleased to spot some of the 8,000 elephants and over 570 species of birds that call the park home.
Etosha is the crowning glory of Namibia’s wildlife reserves and attractions thanks to its elephants. Another particularly striking aspect of the park is its varied vegetation which nourishes a plethora of wildlife including countless herds of plains game. Etosha also provides a refuge for the endangered black rhino, black-faced impala, and Tsessebe.
The formidable image of the elephant may as well be the official symbol of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. This wildlife sanctuary is home to one of the largest elephant herds to be found on the entire continent and it should come as no surprise that — spanning an area of 14,600km² — it is also the largest (and oldest) national park in the country.
South Luangwa National Park has a respectable elephant population within its borders, but what makes this park such a winner in terms of elephant sightings is that this park is the ‘birthplace of the walking safari’. Visitors can explore the park on foot, feel the thrill, and appreciate the sheer size of these massive mammals. The Lower Zambezi National Park is also known for its plentiful elephant herds who love to congregate along the river’s lush banks.
Like many other countries mentioned here, there are numerous parks and reserves in each that have their fair share of elephants, but if you’re passing through this magnificent safari destination, the word on everyone’s lips for elephant sightings is Chobe — and it’s easy to see why. Chobe is home to four of the Big 5 but its population of elephants is particularly impressive, exceeding about 50,000 in number. It also happens to be one of the most biologically diverse parks in the country.
Kruger Park Fly-In Safari
We can have you in the heart of the Sabi Sand private game reserve in less than an hour and a half from Johannesburg! This four-day luxury safari is a popular add-on to other attractions in Southern Africa.
Gillian’s Classic African Safari
13 days of Southern Africa's best safari destinations
Highlights: Phinda Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta
Cape Town, Kruger Park and Victoria Falls
This is once in a lifetime stuff! Our 'Three of the Best' special incorporates the very best of Southern Africa, from the beaches of Cape Town to the Big 5 in the Kruger. And it's all washed down with one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World.
Serengeti - Ngorongoro - Zanzibar
Discover the amazing highlights of Tanzania with this 9-day luxury safari that includes three iconic East African destinations: the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Zanzibar Island. You get to experience both a safari experience and beach getaway in one vacation.
Gareth’s Elegant African Holiday
An 18-day elegant tour of Southern Africa
Highlights: Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek, Kruger National Park, Bazaruto Archipelago
Best of KwaZulu-Natal
This two-week self-drive tour starts and ends in Durban. With the Drakensberg and Midlands, historic Battlefields and exclusive Phinda Game Reserve as well as Rocktail Bay sandwiched in between, it is easily the best of KwaZulu-Natal.
Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls
Botswana is a vast country with so much to see and do. This 9-day holiday takes in the best of Botswana as well the majestic Victoria Falls as a little added bonus. Please note that fares are seasonal.
From the open plains of Masai Mara, the waters of Lake Nakuru and swamps of Amboseli, this safari takes in three of the most picturesque regions in Kenya. It also provides the perfect opportunity to spot the Big 5 and capture diverse scenery.
Bianca’s African Spectacular
16 days of the best of Southern Africa's luxury and beauty
Highlights: Victoria Falls, Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Whale Route
Responsible Rhino Tour
At Rhino Africa we take our impact on the environment very seriously, which is why we can plan your tour to be as green as possible. This Responsible Rhino Tour incorporates some of Southern Africa's most responsible hotels and eco-lodges.
andBeyond Botswana Explorer
This mobile-tented safari takes you through the wilderness hotspots of Botswana. Experience everything from the waterways of the Okavango Delta to the wildlife-dense Chobe National Park. The trip ends with the magnificent Victoria Falls.
Cape Town, Victoria Falls and Chobe
This 10-day trip has it all - three countries, beaches, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, magnificent African sunrises and a luxury safari in Botswana's famous wildlife sanctuary, Chobe National Park.
Kruger - Cape Town
If you are in search of the ultimate luxury and relaxation, then this is the tour for you. This exclusive tour offers accommodation in South Africa's most elite lodges and a private safari experience second to none.
Samantha’s Ultimate Safari Adventure
20 days of classic Southern African attractions: After your trip to Kruger National Park and Victoria Falls, you will spend a few days at one of Cape Town's best hotels, Cape Grace - the perfect place from which to explore Cape Town's highlights.
Kruger Park Safari and Victoria Falls
This tour combines 3 nights in Kruger National Park with 3 nights at Victoria Falls. Marvel at the Big 5 in Sabi Sand Game Reserve & one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World!
North Coast - KZN Safari - Drakensberg
Explore the hidden gems of KwaZulu-Natal on this gentle 10-day self-drive tour that goes from pristine beaches to Big 5 bush safaris and ends off with a gourmet retreat at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Botswana to Seychelles Holiday
Make the most out of your African holiday and explore the waters of the Okavango Delta in Botswana and see the Big 5, followed by the Indian Ocean waters of the Seychelles, where you can explore the varied marine life - and swim with them!
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