Elephants in Addo National Elephant Park

Big Five | Leopard | Lion | Rhinoceros | Buffalo

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.


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 years

Viewing Elephants in the Wild

Large herds of Elephants can be viewed in the following Parks:

Private reserves and lodges such as:

Elephant Back Safaris

Pilanesberg 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.


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.


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, Lion, Rhinoceros and Buffalo.

Elephant in Pilanesberg Game Reserve Elephants in Mkuze Game Reserve Elephants at SanWild Wildlife Rehabilitation Center