The Elephant, part of the Big Five
animal kingdom, is a very intelligent and highly social animal and is always associated with permanent water and abundant vegetation. Because elephants do not have sweat glands, water plays an important roll in helping them cool down.
An exception to this is the unique desert elephant from Namibia, who adapted to survive in the harsh conditions of the area.Habits
Elephants are very intelligent and highly social animals. They live in herds, made up of the matriarch (the oldest animal in the group), her female calves and the youngsters. The herd can comprise between 6 and 30 animals, after what they split to form new herds, always maintaining contact with each other at water holes and feeding spots.
At 14 years of age, males leave the heard and associate with other bulls of the same age or older.
Within the "bull area" hierarchy is well observed and understood by all bulls; if a group of bulls come across a cow in oestrus, the animal occupying the highest rank is the one to mate.
Males are much larger than females and their tusks are much longer and heavier.
Elephants have 6 sets of molar teeth; when the last set is lost, the animal is unable to feed and eventually dies. Their life span is about 50 to 60 yearsGalleryElephant Photo Gallery
shows a range of photos of free ranging elephants.Viewing Elephants in the Wild
Large herds of Elephants can be viewed in the following Parks:
* Addo Elephant Park
* Kruger Park
* Tembe Elephant
* Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve
Private reserves and lodges such as:
* Pilanesberg Game Reserve Lodges
* Madikwe Game Reserve Lodges
* Welgevonden Game Reserve
* Sabi Sand Reserve Game Lodges
* Timbavati Game Reserve Game Lodges
* Kapama Game Reserve Game Lodges Elephant Back SafarisPilanesberg Elephant Back Safari
's run daily at 08h00 and at 15h30, with a maximum of 10 guests on each safari (2 guests and a handler on each elephant).
Elephant back safaris are also offered at Kwa Madwala Private Game Reserve
and at Camp Jabulani
in Kapama Game Reserve.Diet
Elephant eat practically any vegetable matter. Leaves, grass, reeds, roots, flowers, fruits, bark and even soil if the mineral content is high. They eat about 250 kg of food and drink about 150 to 200 liters of water a day.Breeding
Females are sexually mature at 12 years of age and are mated by visiting bulls. After a gestation period of 22 months, the cow gives birth to a single calf that weighs up to 130 kg. The calf suckles for about 3 years.The Big Five
Elephants are part of the renowned Big Five
of the animal KIngdom which includes Leopard