Best places to see elephants in Africa - Wild Voyager Blog
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Best places to see elephants in Africa

Best places to see elephants in Africa

Elephants are known to be the land’s largest mammals. Despite their massive size, they are often called ‘gentle giants’ due to their humble nature. These animals move safely from one place to another led by the matriarch. While the mother keeps an eye on the baby elephants, sightings of high-spirited teenage elephants are common. Mature male bull elephants are frequently seen roaming the savannahs alone or leading younger male elephants.

A herd of African Bush elephants near a watering hole
A herd of African Bush elephants near a watering hole

Elephants are known for their intelligence and close-knitted communities. While one might be intimidated by their height, elephants are peaceful animals. The best place to observe these animals in their natural habitats is in Africa. Moreover, going on an elephant safari is a worthwhile experience as one can see various dynamics within their groups. The African elephant is divided into two species: The forest elephant and the bush elephant. African elephants are distributed in various parts of the continent. Check out these seven best places to see elephants in Africa:

Botswana

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park is a famous park in Botswana and has the largest population of elephants in the entire African continent. There are estimated to be more than 100,000 elephants living in large herds. It is impossible to visit Chobe and miss out on elephants as they spotted throughout the park.

Elephants at Chobe National Park
Elephants at Chobe National Park

Elephants of Chobe are usually sighted near the banks of the Chobe River and the surrounding floodplains. As the dry season progresses from June to November, tens of thousands of elephants line up the river banks and quench their thirst, play with each other as well as enjoy a good swim. A river cruise across the Chobe River offers a unique perspective of elephants and a truly majestic wildlife spectacle.

Okavango Delta

The Okavango is the largest inland delta of Africa, known for its sprawling grassy plains that flood seasonally and becomes a lush animal habitat. Due to the year-round presence of water and plant life, approximately 18,000 elephants reside in the delta.

Elephants of Okavango Delta
Elephants of Okavango Delta

Thousands of African elephants migrate between Okavango and neighboring wildlife reserves of the Chobe, Linyanti, and Savuti regions. The herds are also spotted near the Okavango River which further serves as a valuable source of water in an otherwise arid landscape. Visitors can choose between a traditional mokoro trip or walking safari, an elephant back safari, and a classic sundowner boat cruise in Okavango Delta. Here, visitors also have the chance to interact with tame elephants and learn more about them.

Namibia

Damaraland

It is not a typical sight to see elephants living in deserts. But, in Damaraland, Namibia, the unique desert elephants have successfully adapted to the inhospitable conditions. Desert elephants are not a separate species but are African bush elephants. They have become accommodated to the Namib and Sahara deserts of Africa. When compared to Savanah elephants, desert elephants tend to have smaller bodies, longer legs, larger feet and can survive without water for days. They migrate to faraway distances for food, and unlike other elephants, they do not damage trees and bushes due to sparse vegetation.

A desert elephant in Damaraland
A desert elephant in Damaraland

These elephants are found in Damaraland and Kaokoland, north of Namibia, where their large families tend to roam the river beds alongside zebra, giraffe, and black rhino. Another site to witness the elusive desert elephants is the Ugab River which stretches 500 kilometers in the Damaraland region. Visitors can enjoy game drives and walking safaris in a private concession to witness this animal species.

Kenya

Amboseli National Park

Lying in Southern Kenya, Amboseli National Park is known for offering the perfect backdrop of the incredible Mount Kilimanjaro and herds of elephants standing in front of it. There are over 1500 elephants that are spread across Amboseli’s wetlands, woodlands, and savannahs. Due to the abundant water found at a natural swamp created by Mount Kilimanjaro’s melting snow, elephants are seen all year round in the park.

Mount Kilimanjaro serves as the background for elephants at Amboseli
Mount Kilimanjaro serves as the background for elephants at Amboseli

Amboseli National Park also houses the largest running elephant research and conservation program in the world. The elephants of Amboseli have been studied since 1972 and biologists were able to discover various behaviors of these animals. There are many lodges and camps in the national park that arrange elephant-focused game drives. The game drive introduces visitors individually to single herds and then emphasizes the interaction between herd members.

Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is an extinct volcanic caldera in the Eastern Great Rift Valley, lying north of Tanzania. This crater has ample wildlife and bird species. Among the many animals living in Ngorongoro Crater, elephants are also occasionally seen roaming in their natural surroundings.

Elephants of Ngorongoro Crater
Elephants of Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater has a healthy elephant population. There are found scattered in wooded and swamp areas. One can mostly observe solitary males or bull elephant groups in the crater.

Tarangire National Park

Among Tanzania’s Northern Circuit reserves, Tarangire National Park is not frequented as much as Serengeti. But it is prominent for its elephants that have a red coating, thanks to the park’s burnt orange mud that these animals kick up as they walk. Tarangire has an elephant population of around 2,500, boasting the largest elephant population in northern Tanzania. Furthermore, their numbers have been steadily increasing every passing year.

An elephant in Tarangire National Park
An elephant in Tarangire National Park

Elephants in Tarangire National Park are seen in abundance during the dry seasons near the Tarangire River. The river acts as a reliable source of water for elephants traveling for miles, as well as other animals in the neighboring areas.

South Africa

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park, a diverse wildlife conservation park, is placed conveniently along Cape town’s popular Garden Route. It is also the most accessible park, situated just an hour’s drive away from Port Elizabeth. As the name suggests, Addo is famous for having the densest African Elephant population. The park was built in 1931 to protect just 11 remaining elephants but today, is home to more than 600 of them.

A community of elephants at Addo Elephant National Park
A community of elephants at Addo Elephant National Park

The national park’s small size makes elephant sightings relatively easier. During the scorching days, herds of elephants congregate near the park’s waterholes where visitors can enjoy their antics. 

Elephants continue to remain the African continent’s most iconic animal. Unfortunately, in certain parts of Africa, they suffer from poaching and habitat loss that has led to a decrease in their population. Many of the African reserves and national parks actively participate to protect the elephants and help them thrive in the wild.

 

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Wild Voyager Team

The blogging team at Wild Voyager. We are explorers at heart and we love to share our travel stories and destination knowledge with you, which often serve as an inspiration for the life changing journeys we curate. When you decide to embark on one such life changing journey, our travel experience designers at letstalk@wildvoyager.com will be happy to get you started.

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