For the best Elephant safari experience in Africa there is no better destination than Botswana where the greatest numbers occur in the wild and where personal Elephant interaction is possible.
© Elephant interaction at Stanley's Camp. Okavango
Botswana is the place with the greatest numbers of Elephants in Africa, with estimates ranging from 60 000 to 120 000, and a safari in Botswana is sure to provide some of the most intimate experiences with these fascinating creatures.
Sights of great numbers concentrating along the waterways are common, especially during the dry season in Botswana when the water in the interior has dried up and the herds have to drink from the permanent water sources.
The Greatest Elephant Concentrations in Africa
Botswana lies at the heart of the ancient migration routes of the Elephant herds that once ranged over Southern Africa, but with the onset of civil war and political turmoil in neighbouring countries the Elephants found safety in the well protected Botswana parks and reserves -and the legend was born.
With the cessation of the wars and poaching in the neighbouring countries, the Elephants have begun to move on some of the old migration routes again, but for the moment Botswana is still their safe haven. Guests cannot be anything but amazed at the sight of literally thousands of Elephants on the floodplains of the permanent rivers during the dry season.
The rainy season is also a good time to see Elephants, except not in the great numbers of the dry season. During the wet season the herds spread out across the vast interior of the parks and reserves of northern Botswana, and although not as visible as during the dry season the sightings in the wet season are still excellent.
A zookeeper at an American zoo had a dream to see a group of African Elephants returned to their motherland, and in so doing has provided one of Africa's most unique safari experiences. After many months of planning Randall Moore finally had the three Elephants on a ship to Africa but the problems continued once he had landed with the Elephants in Africa.
From Kenya to South Africa, and finally to Botswana, Moore and the Elephants were moved till they finally settled on a private concession in the Okavango Delta from where the herd grew as new Elephants were introduced and the females had young. Today the Botswana elephant safaris operation provides elephant interaction and education including an immersive walking-based experience.
Please Note: Due to concerns over the welfare of animals, there are no longer Elephant back safaris available in Botswana.
Another unique safari experience occurs in another part of the Okavango Delta, at Baines' Camp, where a group of semi-habituated Elephants that were saved from culling operations in south Africa and Zimbabwe, now roam free on the plains of the Delta and provides guests with the incredible experience of walking with them and learning of their habits in the wild.
Botswana is renowned for its pristine wilderness areas and wildlife variety but it is the Elephant experiences that provide something no other countries in Africa can match.
By Leigh Kemp