After travelling through Eastern Africa for approximately four weeks, my tour with Acacia Africa arrived into Livingstone, a town in the country of Zambia, home to the very famous Natural Wonder of the World, Victoria Falls.
I compare the town of Livingstone in Zambia to the town of Queenstown in New Zealand as they are both very well-known for adventure sports and once in a lifetime experiences! From white water rafting, bungy jumping, safari experiences and walking with lions, there are countless adventurous activities to choose from during your stay in Livingstone.
One of the most incredible experiences I had in Livingstone, and which has become my most memorable travel moment is, without a shadow of a doubt, my very first encounter with a beautiful African elephant.
My elephant-back safari experience
I booked my elephant-back safari through Safari Par Excellence at the hotel in Livingstone that I was staying at. What is an elephant-back safari I hear you ask? An elephant-back safari is when you go on safari and spot wildlife, but you get to do it while riding on the back of an African elephant! How amazing is that?!
Mounting the elephants
So I was picked up from the hotel in Livingstone and dropped off at the Thorntree River Lodge in the Mosi-oa-Tunga National Park (Victoria Falls National Park) which looks over the Zambezi River. After meeting other travellers going on the elephant safari with me, light refreshments and a short safety briefing it was time to meet our elephants!
In the photograph above is our elephants and their handlers! The elephant handlers at Zambezi elephant trails are very well-trained and work with the elephants everyday and have a very special friendship with them. The staff strongly believe in an elephant experience rather than just an elephant ride. For me this was an experience of a lifetime and I can definitely say that it is very safe, and these magnificent creatures and their handlers are very trustworthy and the loveliest people I have ever met!
Here is a video I took of one of the elephants kneeling down so one of the travellers could get on!
It was then time to mount our elephants and go on safari! Here are some shots I took of the Zambezi River and our gorgeous elephants on the safari!
Elephant fun fact: How can you tell the difference between an African elephant and an Asian elephant?
As told by my elephant handler, to tell the difference you need to look at the elephants ears! If you look closely at the ears of the gorgeous baby elephant below, you can see the elephants ears are shaped just like the continent of Africa!
This baby elephant pictured below had been abandoned by his parents, and so the handlers at Zambezi Elephant trails rescued him and ever since this elephant mumma has taken him in as her own and has been his foster mother! What an amazing story!
The handlers at Zambezi elephant trails are amazing on the elephant safari! They work with the elephants everyday and on the safari they are your tour guide! I highly recommend talking with them and asking questions! They have a wealth of knowledge and cool facts about the elephants, Victoria Falls, The Zambezi River and the surrounding areas! Here are some photos of my elephant handler and myself on the elephant safari!
Another interesting part of my elephant safari was learning about aspects of conservation at the lodge. The handlers and trainers at Zambezi elephant trails believe in the method of positive reinforcement with the elephants; this means that they treat the elephants with love, affections and build strong relationships and friendships with the elephants! How amazing is that?!
They elephants at the lodge are also not bound or restricted in staying there at all. They allow the elephants to go out into the wild and walk around and find food, and due to the strong and positive relationships they have established with the elephants, they always return home. A foundation of love, acceptance, friendship and positive reinforcement with these magnificent creatures is inspiring!
My African Elephant Encounter
The elephant-back safari was absolutely amazing and a such a wonderful experience, but by far the moment of my elephant safari experience that tops it is when I go to interact with my elephant.
We were given a bag of food to feed our elephant and encouraged to talk with them, thanking and praising them for doing a wonderful job on the day. So firstly we got to feed them! Then, what’s more is the handlers gave the command and right on cue, the elephant knelt on the ground and we were encouraged to sit on their knee!
An Experience I will Never Forget!
This photo is my most favourite photo I have ever had taken of me. It is the ultimate highlight of all of my travels, and the number one highlight of my 5-week African adventure! I would never hesitate to go back and do this all over again! I highly recommend that if you ever find yourself in Livingstone, Zambia that you take the opportunity to interact with some of the most amazing creatures on the planet!
Here is a photo of the elephants showing off!
Want More Information?
If you want more information on the elephant encounter in Livingstone, Zambia, feel free to click on the links in this blog post plus you can also check out these websites as well:
Share Your Thoughts
1. Have you had an encounter with an elephant before? Share your amazing elephant photos!
2. LIKE or SHARE this post if you or a friend would be interested in doing something like this in Africa!
3. Visit my post on the blog about one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls.