Why I love Elephants

Before travelling to Africa, dolphins were always my favourite animal. I loved their sense of joy and gentle, peaceful spirit that emanates from them. I still love them very much, but now I have a deep affection for elephants. This comes from spending a lot of time in their vicinity on the various safaris we went on in the game parks of  Africa. I would spend hours watching them in their family units and learning so much from them. 

This is why I love elephants so much and feel they are some of the wisest animal species on our planet.

Elephants love deeply and are passionate about life

Daily Travel Photo: Elephants, Addo Elephant Park, South Africa
Daily Travel Photo: Addo Elephant Park, South Africa

Elephants live in a strong family unit. The mothers are so protective of their babies and spend all day teaching and loving them. They band together to shield their young if they feel danger is present.

Elephants in Africa
Addo Elephant Park

They are highly social animals and meet every day to roll around in the mud pool together. They cry when a family member dies and they mourn their death every year on their anniversary.

Elephants having a mud bath
Having a mud bath together

Elephants in the mud bath
Mummy leading baby to her bath

They’re playful and fun and hug trunks when meeting each other at the waterhole.

Addo Elephant Park
Greeting

Elephants Never Forget

Elephants never forget
They'll remember you

I love this so much about elephants and can relate to it a lot. Never forgetting can have its really bad points, but at the same time it shows fierce loyalty. I know I never forget when someone shows the same loyalty to me.

A game ranger friend of ours told us a fascinating story of the family of elephants who lived in the Addo Elephant game park. Over 100 years ago the borders of the park were much bigger than what they are now; the shrinking borders were due to the increased poaching of the elephants. As numbers in Addo are now increasing the park borders were extending out again.

Elephants never forget
Fierce and loyal

This extension of the borders now mean that an old cemetery became part of the park once more. As soon as this happened a herd of elephants found their way into the cemetery and smashed up every single gravestone bar one. That one gravestone was the only one that did not belong to a poacher.

Over 100 years later the elephants finally got their revenge- the energy of it was passed down through their DNA. They have a mystical connection to the Earth. This is what frightened me so much about them yet I loved how loyal they were and would not forget those they love.

African Elephants
Addo

On the anniversary of a loved one’s death they return to the exact spot of their death on the exact day to mourn which also demonstrates the wisdom and connectedness they have to the spirit world or world of energy.

How do they know this? They don’t have calendars or watches. They know more secrets then we do, that’s for sure. You feel it in their presence.

They have a commanding presence

Elephants command your attention, more so than any other animal. It is easy to get blase about the animals in the game parks of Africa as you see them in such abundance. But not the elephants. Every time they are around, you are sitting up straight in your car, with the gears engaged and your foot ready to put some pedal to the medal.

car hire In Africa
Are you quick with a gear shift?

Elephants help you to become very aware of your surroundings. You can’t help but look and watch their every move. That slow, steady gait of theirs will deceive you into thinking they are lacking in power and speed. And then one starts to run towards you in your car and you become aware of the squashing power they have. Lucky for you they skip on by gaily to meet up with their friends on the other side of the road.

Etosha National Park Elephants
A commanding presence

The Mummy is the boss

Addo Elephant Park
Mummy leads the pack

She’s all woman! She’s fierce, she’s strong, she’s a leader, and a protector. She’s firm yet compassionate, loves her babies and chases away lions! Everything I aspire to be.

Rock on Elephant Mummy! A true 21st century woman.

I could sit all day with these majestic creatures and still would never learn all they know. One thing I do know is they have taught me a lot about who I want to be and how I want to live my life.

Caz
Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

38 Comments on “Why I love Elephants”

  1. I had never given that much thought to elephants before, but I can see why they’re such amazing creatures. Your pictures really highlight the emotions you talk about!

    Reply
    • Thank you. I guess I never gave them much thought until spending time with them in the wild. It is a magical experience

      Reply
  2. A big post Caz!
    Unless we get to control poaching then we aren’t going to see many of these in years to come. In Chad and other Central Africa countries these beasts are being poached to extinction. And when they have gone , the poaching criminal syndicates will move to other countries. All to fuel the demand for ivory in Asia, mainly China. Reports also suggest that poaching has increased in areas where Chinese road building is going on in Africa.

    Reply
  3. Elephants are absolutely wonderful creatures! I’ve always felt this strong, almost spiritual connection with them, as odd as that may sound. I once looked into volunteering at an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand – someday I hope I get to do it!

    Great post! :)

    Reply
    • Do it! The Elephant Nature Park is nothing short of amazing :). I was there for a day on a tour, but would have stayed much longer if I could have.

      Reply
  4. Elephants seem quite human, lovable, intriguing, and dangerous. It’s all the great things about an animal we can relate to but also dangerous and big enough that we are intrigued and a little in awe/frightened.

    Reply
  5. Great post and great pictures.
    I have seen elephants only at the zoo so far, which was very impressive too, but I hope I get to see them out in the wilderness one day :)

    Reply
  6. Caz,

    I also love elephants. Last year when I went to Thailand, I was able to go to one of the elephant parks. I was able to ride and feed them (and sit in their legs with their trunks around my neck!!). It was an incredible experience. Of course you had the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat where a lot of them roam freely.

    Beautiful photos. I get all you say about elephants. When you see into their eyes, you see something you don’t see in other animals.

    Reply
  7. There’s also something so old and wise about them. I always get a little depressed when I see elephants bored at a zoo.

    Reply
  8. I hope that there will be elephants left for our children to marvel at. At the rate they are being killed by poachers it seems unlikely that the species will survive. Thanks for giving us all reasons to love them even more!

    To help fight the elephant slaughter, please check out http://www.biglifeafrica.org/
    A non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and ecosystems.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing Ken. This is such an important cause. I couldn’t imagine a world without these amazing creatures.

      Reply
      • kipngetich koech

        do help please,am from a poor background in kenya and i need support for camera and laptop to work on wildlife photography.this is my passion.

        Reply
  9. I love elephants! This really made me smile. They are so special and have always been my favorite animal. Sometimes when I look at pictures of them my eyes start to tear up. I don’t even know why. I just really love them. At a ghetto zoo i visited in college, there were 2 of them just standing in this little pen. The only thing that kept them in was a single chain. I got kicked out of that zoo because i went in and pet them. It was really special (and i’m sure in most books, completely stupid) and they were happy to have some love. Of course my mother was ready to kill me when I told her what I did that day and I know it makes me sound like a crazy nut bag but it just felt right. They are such beautiful, beautiful creatures. It’s like you see centuries in their eyes.

    Reply
    • Yes! You can see so much wisdom in their eyes and it is all etched over their wrinkly skin as well. They’re beautiful creatures. I used to get so upset seeing the small elephant being walked around of an evening around Kho Sahn Road. I would always stop to hug it gently and give it a kiss. It’s eyes always looked so sad.

      Reply
  10. I love elephants’ sense of community values, too. The way the older females group together to raise and care for the little ones, and the babies’ sense of playfulness, too. Thanks for the lovely pictures. There really is nothing quite like seeing elephants in the wild: something we’ve done in Africa and Asia, and awe-inspiring wherever you do it.

    Reply
  11. I’ll never forget the day i saw my first elephant in the wild. Many years ago now, but still vividly etched into my memory. I’ll forgive the photographer for getting the image of the large bull approaching the vehicle a little blurred. If they want you to move, then whose gunna argue.

    Reply
  12. Nice post idea! Elephants are just such fascinating creatures!! You bring up some really interesting points, like how they mourn the deaths of their loved ones. I agree that they know more of the ‘secrets’ than us. I can’t wait to see them in the wild one day!

    Reply
    • Thanks Laura. You will love seeing them in the wild. Do you have any plans to do it soon?

      Reply
  13. I love elephants too…for all the reasons you mentioned. They seem almost human to me. I always enjoy it when on nature shows they put the lions in their place!

    Reply
    • There is nothing better than to see their fearless charge down of a lion. Elies are the real Kings of the Jungle. Lions don’t scare me when I am in a car but elephants sure do.

      Reply
  14. I’m jealous of you both getting to see them in the wild ;) Very cool photos and experience. They are some majestic creatures for sure.

    Reply
  15. I recently fell in love with elephants on a trip to Thailand. They were working elephants that weren’t really wild, but so intelligent, kind, magnificent and delightful. I got a big kiss from an elephant and it honestly was a top experience in my life (its like a vacuum hose). I love your post.

    Reply
    • i would love to get a kiss from an elephant. I’ve given them plenty but are yet to receive one in return. What a treat!

      Reply
  16. Great post. And Addo must be one of the best places in the worlds to see wild smellies. Almost certain of close up sigthings and great practice for your reversing skills.

    Reply
    • Addo is amazing and such a lesser known park. So many people go to South Africa and never visit. It needs to go down on the must visit list!

      Reply
  17. I too have come under the spell of the elephants. A few years ago in Botswana I had a solitary up close & personal experience with a lone elephant. It was a magical one hour. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them in the wild in Tanzania and Namibia too but a real highlight was a trip to the elephant orphanage in Nairobi this fall. Elephants from 1 year to several years are looked after before being returned to the wild (at least that is the goal). They behaved like a bunch of bad assed kids. Trainers are with them 24/7 and everything seems geared to the happiness of the elephants. There have been lots of TV programs about this place. For more info people can Google the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

    Reply
  18. What’s even better than elephants? BABY elephants!!

    Reply
  19. So close up to so many elephants! I’m obsessed with giraffes to be honest… if I could ride them I’d never leave their side.

    Reply
  20. The pic of the elephant taken from the car is so cool…and scary!

    Reply
  21. Robin Cole

    Elephants to me are wonderful animals. I’ve only in my lifetime, seen and fed them in the zoo but you’ve only got to watch the way these huge heavy creatures gracefully walk to know you are looking at a real wonder of creation.

    Reply
  22. They are such beautiful and gentle creatures. They may seem/look intimidating–due to their size…but they are known to be very gentle – when they are not threatened by those who don’t respect their environments. I have always had a soft spot for elephants. Not sure exactly why? But this post does a great job at confirming they are truly magnificent animals we should focus on preserving their livelihoods.

    Reply
  23. celion

    all my life have lived in a country with these beautiful animals and yet have never seen them…am making my journey next month to livingstone just to see elephants. thanks caz!

    Reply
Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge