Menu
long-arrow.svg
MenuPreviousNext
1 of 4
Subscribe to our newsletter
2 of 4
 
 
3 of 4
 
 
4 of 4
 
 
Use the sliders to select your approximate budget per person
 
£8000 - £25000+
 
 
 
Submit enquiry
Thanks
MenuPreviousNext
1 of 2
Subscribe to our newsletter
2 of 2
 
 
Let us know your approximate budget per person
 
£8000 - £25000+
 
 
 
Submit enquiry
Thanks
Please select
Travelled before
Recommended by a friend
Online Search
Social Media
Publication/magazine
Travel show
Event
Other
MenuPreviousNext
1 of 2
2 of 2
 
 
Submit enquiry
Thanks
Menu
Subscribe
Thanks
Menu
Click here to upload your brief
Submit brief
Menu Top Ten Places to Encounter Africa's Elephants
SEEKING INSPIRATION?
Thank You for Subscribing
Exclusive safaris are our speciality.
Sign up to receive the latest news and the inside stories of amazing places and how best to experience them.
Our welcome email will arrive in your inbox shortly.
callback-iconWould you like a callback? close-callback
Menu Top Ten Places to Encounter Africa's Elephants
Let us call you
Thank you for your enquiry
Africa is a continent of such scale, diversity and richness that it offers limitless travel combinations. The best way to start your journey is to speak to our team of expert safari designers.

Our offices are now closed but please leave your details below for a callback.
One of our safari designers will be in touch at your suggested time. We look forward to speaking with you.
MenuSearchicon
1-866-871-3829
Contact Us
Contact Us
1-866-871-3829
slider-spacerslider-spacer
 

Top Ten Places to Encounter Africa's Elephants

 
An elephant is an amazing creature! She can shove over a tree with a butt of the head. Yet watch her using her trunk to patiently help a baby through a mud pool. Or listen to a breeding herd communicate as they roam ancestral routes across the savannahs. You’ll be awestruck by the combination of social intelligence and raw power.
Watching them on a safari is pure joy. We’ve compiled ten of our favourite elephant spotting locations from the savannahs, deserts and great rivers of Africa. These are in no particular order as each earns its place in the list for the way it reveals a different aspect of these remarkable creatures.
Elephants walking through camp at Old Mondoro in Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park
Elephants walking through camp at Old Mondoro in Zambia's Lower Zambezi National Park
 
From June to early November water sources on the Zambezi floodplain dry up obliging the elephants to head for the river. The four cottages of Old Mondoro sit by the water’s edge and the elephants simply carry on as if it were not there. As you’re shaving you’ll see one wander past, dwarfing your cottage. You’ll be amazed that a creature so large can move so silently.

At lunchtime they sometimes come right up to the dining lodge to satisfy their curiosity. Later, sit on the riverbank and watch them swimming and playing in the Zambezi at the end of a long dry day in the bush. Of course Old Mondoro offers safaris too, on the river, on foot and by vehicle. But what’s happening in camp can be just as interesting.
 
long-arrow.svg
Game drive near desert-adapted elephants in Namibia
Game drive near desert-adapted elephants in Namibia
 
Watching elephants touches the emotions. We admire their power and beauty and instinctively understand that these animals are intelligent, social survivors in a tough environment. Nowhere is this more poignantly apparent than in the deserts of the Namib and Skeleton Coast. The first thought as you watch them trudging across the desolate dunescape is “why on earth do they choose to live here?”

Desert elephants are smaller than other African elephants and have adapted to live in these seemingly waterless deserts. Yet in Namibia you always have to look deeper and your guide will unlock the ways plants, animals and these magnificent, defiant elephant have found a way to thrive here. Damaraland Camp and Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp are two of our choices for seeking desert elephant.
 
long-arrow.svg
Couple walking with elephants in Botswana's Okavango Delta
Couple walking with elephants in Botswana's Okavango Delta
 
The fact that 100,000 elephants live there means that Botswana definitely features in this list. This first listing though, isn’t about numbers. On a remote reserve in the heart of the beautiful Okavango Delta, researchers Doug and Sandy Groves have devoted their lives to raising orphan elephants. Jabu and Morula have been raised by Doug and Sandy from as calves so they allow people to come close, to touch them and walk with them through the grassland and forest.

Baines’ and Stanley’s camps are great places for an Okavango safari, and if you book early we can usually arrange also for you to spend a few hours with Jabu and Morula. It is a touching and absolutely fascinating experience and because of Doug and Sandy’s dedication, meeting these fellow creatures feels natural and a privilege.
 
long-arrow.svg
Huge herd of elephants in Tarangire
Huge herd of elephants in Tarangire
 
African elephants can drink 50 gallons a day so they need to keep following the water. From dry June to October the reliable waters of the Tarangire River draw 3,000 elephants in a huge local migration. Tarangire is a delightful area where beautiful sausage, candelabra and yellow fever trees line the river bank. It’s quiet and often overlooked by travellers, yet it has a big variety of wildlife including leopard and giraffe.

Long established Oliver’s has the authentic charm of a traditional camp and a superb location just outside the National Park, allowing its veteran guides to take you on fascinating walking safaris. Deep inside the southern reaches of Tarangire, Swala is another outstanding camp overlooking a precious waterhole which sees plenty of dry season action.
 
long-arrow.svg
Elephants in Amboseli with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background
Elephants in Amboseli with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background
 
One of the iconic African images is of Amboseli elephants roaming against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Although Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania, Amboseli offers some of the best views and its swamp, grassland, lake and forest habitats allow elephants to thrive. Excellent rains in the last couple of years have caused the population to boom, with 170 elephant calves born in 2020. In fact, conservation and anti poaching efforts have seen Kenya’s elephant population increase from 16,000 in 1989 to 35,000 in 2020.

Tortilis is one of several outstanding camps on private conservancies where you can enjoy Amboseli to the full, while also benefiting from the privacy and multiple activities afforded by staying on a conservancy.
 
long-arrow.svg
Boat safari near elephants in Chobe National Park Botswana
Boat safari near elephants in Chobe National Park Botswana
 
The long dry season in Botswana reaches its climax from July to November. Zero rain falls. Countless waterholes run dry across the savannahs of Linyanti and Chobe. Tens of thousands of thirsty elephants head for the rivers, creating Africa’s greatest elephant spectacle.

If we arrange for you to be sitting on a boat on the Chobe river late afternoon, you’ll see elephants and more elephants emerging from the plains. As they near the water, they start to run then plunge ecstatically into the cool water. Drinking, swimming, playing — it’s bath time for babies and adults alike. This season is also prime time for all safaris in northern Botswana. All animals need the water, and the big cats know it.
 
long-arrow.svg
Sunset bush walk in Ruaha southern Tanzania
Sunset bush walk in Ruaha southern Tanzania
 
Ruaha is over 20,000 square kilometres of pristine rivers, savannahs, forests and mountains and one of the few relatively untouched safari regions left in Africa. It’s a complex, beautiful home to over 10,000 elephants and incredibly diverse wildlife including some of Africa’s largest lion prides and great herds of plains game.

Kichaka Expeditions was set up 13 years ago and founders Moli and Noelle still share their passion on traditional walking and camping safaris where the camp follows the animal concentrations. Up to eight guests have the opportunity to explore and fall in love with this truly remote wilderness.
 
long-arrow.svg
Kids game drive stop with specialist family safari guides
Kids game drive stop with specialist family safari guides
 
Nearly all of Africa’s malaria-free wildlife reserves are in South Africa and you can encounter elephant in all of them. If you’re planning a holiday in Cape Town and the Garden Route you might think that you’d have to fly miles into the interior of Africa to find an authentic safari lodge. Actually there are several superb Big Five reserves right on the Garden Route.

Kwandwe is a prime example with a choice of outstanding accommodation including family villas. There is no lower age limit and plenty of children’s safari activities, so this is one for all the family. The landscapes are wild and pure “Africa” and you can see big cats galore, rhinoceros, plains game and of course elephant. There are lone bulls, playful adolescents and impressive breeding families and you can learn all about them from your expert friendly guide.
 
long-arrow.svg
Elephants standing on hind legs to reach tree fruits in Mana Pools Zimbabwe
Elephants standing on hind legs to reach tree fruits in Mana Pools Zimbabwe
 
The World Heritage Site of Mana Pools is surely one of the most beautiful places for an elephant safari. This floodplain on the southern bank of the Zambezi has curved lagoons, grassy pans and gorgeous trees: Sausage trees with pendulous pods, Natal mahoganies and magnificent winter thorn trees.

We know several superb little camps where you can track magnificent elephant on foot with some of Africa’s finest guides. You can watch them from a boat or canoe from the vantage point of the Zambezi as they play and drink in the water before sunset. Sometimes they stand on hind legs to reach their favourite succulent pods. For more comfort, Chikwenya and Ruckomechi lodges have occupied their prime positions in Mana for over 30 years and have become part of the magnificent scenery.
 
long-arrow.svg
Walking safari in South Luangwa green season
Walking safari in South Luangwa green season
 
This is a big personal favourite of founders John and Sue Burdett. The river is Jeckyll and Hyde. In the long dry season she meanders along in extravagant lazy loops. Hippo jostle noisily in the shallows. In the wet season she powers through, flooding whole sections of the valley which turns luxuriant, riotous green. Both seasons showcase the spectacular.

Elephant are everywhere and John and Sue love nothing more than to set off on a long slow wander along timeless elephant tracks, linking oxbow lagoons to the river. On a walk like this you take life as it comes. You feel part of the scenery and always find something to fascinate and a memory to treasure. It could be an encounter with an elephant coming the other way or ten minutes watching a praying mantis.
 
long-arrow.svg
Trustpilot