Today (12 August 2012) is the inaugural World Elephant Day.
Recently I had the privilege of going to the Elephant Sanctuary at Hartebeespoort Dam, about forty five minutes outside Johannesburg. There are three Elephant Sanctuaries – one in Hazyview, one in Plettenberg Bay and one at Hartebeespoort Dam.
It was a wonderful experience. I got to touch and walk with elephants. Others also rode the elephants, bare backed, but I didn’t book for that experience. One of the joys was spending time feeding the elephants – their diet is almost exclusively fed to them because the fifty hectares the five elephants at the sanctuary live on isn’t enough to support even one elephant.
We got to see their stables (elephants walk about thirty kilometres a night and fences don’t deter them) and learned all about their anatomy and physiology from guides who really knew their stuff and were able to answer even quite obscure questions.
This is an educative and wonderful experience. It is expensive at R525.00 for the two hours, but it will provide an insight into these beautiful creatures and an opportunity to interact with the biggest land mammal, the elephant.
Their website is http://www.elephantsanctuary.co.za/