An Elephant Interaction & Safari in Hazyview!
Upon embarking on a journey into the wild of Mpumalanga, we decided it was high time we visit the Elephant Sanctuary in Hazyview, for the most incredible and majestic experience of interacting with Elephants and enjoying an Elephant Back Safari ride. As we are proud South Africans who absolutely love the wild of Africa, we hastily booked an incredibly affordable and life-changing Elephant interaction and Elephant Back Safari ride at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hazyview. A mere 43 minutes’ drive from Destiny Country Lodge in White River.
Upon arrival, we were met by very friendly staff and the Elephant handlers (who, by the way, are absolutely in love with the Elephants they look after). We gathered together in a group of highly anticipated folk, spanning from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia, Mozambique and South Africa, with cameras and GoPro’s clutched closely to our chests, smothered in Sun Cream and ready to face the most beautiful and god-like African Elephants that waited patiently for us all in the shade of the forest at the Elephant Sanctuary, Hazyview.
After a brisk walk with the Elephant Handler into the forest, we were taken first to the Elephant’s stables (a massive building used to house tired Ellies after a long day of playing with humans in the sun) and briefed on safety and the rules of interacting with their beloved Elephants. We were then taken to a shaded area where further education was given on what makes an Elephant, an Elephant, and the differences between African Elephants and Asian Elephants and how they are in fact, two completely different species of animal! In the background, we saw the 2 most gorgeous Elephant Bulls waiting to show us what they’re all about, as we sat in awe of their magnanimous size and peaceful demeanor.
After the interesting educational chat, we walked deep into the forest into a clearing with benches and watched as the Ellies were lead in (due to their incredible feet which act as massive shock-absorbers, we did not even hear them coming!). The Elephants walked around us and into the clearing, with the younger Elephant, Kietso who is 17 years old, following behind the 30-year-old Bull Ziziphus, clutching his tail with his trunk (just like in the famous kid’s animated movie ‘Dumbo’).
It was time for the interaction with the Ellies, a small amount of fear came over the crowd, as nothing quite prepares you for the size of an Elephant in real-life! We were taken through a hands-on experience – feeling the foot of the Elephant (the incredible shock-absorber), the stomach (which is quite rough and mushy), the trunk, the tail, the needle-like hairs that cover the entire Elephant’s body and the opportunity to feed him through his trunk.
Kietso, the playful teen, quite enjoys giving the odd kiss to humans, so we were asked if we wanted a kiss from Kietso, naturally we agreed – only to be told to put our heads back and REMAIN CALM! Out of nowhere comes the trunk of Kietso, plonking it with great precision on your throat and vigorously blows and sucks air out of his nostrils creating a loud (and ticklish) kiss that one cannot help but burst out into laughter from, from this never-before-experienced first time Elephant kiss.
Visit our blog next week for the second part of our Elephant Safari experience, or Like our Facebook page for an update on part 2.