I went to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort today with my team at work. It was such an incredible experience!

We got to touch, feed and walk with the majestic elephants!!

I’ve always wanted to do this. Elephants are my favourite animal, so I loved every minute. I loved being so close to them… although didn’t love the smell of their poo in the forest when the male decided to let rip! LOL!

The elephant sanctuary at Haarties has been joined with the monkey sanctuary, so when you get there, you have to walk through part of the monkey enclosure to get to the elephant gate. I really wished I’d brought a longer lens for that, but I only travelled with one lens today, the 24-70mm

I had a ball being so close to them in the forest. I’ve been wanting a photo in B&W to hang in our entrance area at home, and I think it’s going to be one of these.

All the elephants at the sanctuary are rescue elephants that have come from around SA, as well as Botswana and Namibia. This boma has a teen bull who is 17 years old, and the matriarch of the herd who is 24 years old. These 2 are not too friendly unless you’ve got food, so we got to feed them at the end of the tour.

 

After listening to all the rules, we were then taken into the forested area to get up close and personal with the ellies.

 

We were all given a chance to touch and feel the elephants in pairs. That was great, because I got the opportunity to take photos of everyone with the elephants… and to have some fun with my camera!

I have to tell you about this little girl in the group. There was a mom that joined us with her 2 daughters, and it was part of a Reach for a Dream experience. This little girl has a brain tumour, that has made her blind… and she was led to the elephants and got to touch and stroke them just like we did. She also walked with the elephants when we did. It was  really humbling to watch her with them.


One of my colleagues then took my camera to take photos of me when it was my turn. I loved touching and stroking her.

 

Then it was time to walk with them. Now that was a strange experience… they just hook onto your hand and walk fast!


It was such an amazing experience. It only took 1h30, and I reckon to get the most out of the day, you should do the monkey sanctuary experience too. 

I need to take the boys there, they would LOVE it!