If you're visiting Africa, you'll want to go on safari for a few days. But there are other ways to learn about the incredible wildlife of Africa, aside from trekking through the bush on a photo safari.
Before our last safari, we spent a night outside of the private game reserve, and had a half day "elephant experience." I have to confess that I'd always thought that it was impossible to domesticate African elephants, and that people could really only train Asian elephants. But I was wrong about that.
We spent a morning up close with these incredible animals. They're truly huge--you don't realize how big they are until you're standing right next to one. But at the facility where we had our experience, we not only got to stand next to (or rather, beneath) these majestic beasts, we got to touch their rough, wrinkled skin, and contrasted that with the feel of their soft, velvety skin, on the backs of their ears. We exchanged trunk greetings with the elephants, as we learned about their biology as well as their habits.
We got to feed the elephants, too! They ate these little pellets (elephant kibble?) right out of our hands. And at the end of our experience, we saddled up and went for a ride--on the back of an African elephant!
It was awesome, in every sense of the word. If you're going to South Africa, and you're planning a safari near Kruger National Park, let us build in a day to learn about elephants for you--it'll make your trip super extra special!