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Elephant Back Safari’s

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April 21, 2015

Elephant Back Safari’s at Kwa Madwala

Elephant Back Safari’s at Kwa Madwala

Kwa Madwala is extremely privileged to have two tamed elephants that live within the Reserve and provide emotional and moving elephant experiences from safaris to interaction experiences.

The elephants, Tswale and Modjadji, are based at the purpose built stables in the reserve. Our guests start all elephant experiences with a brief introduction to Tswali and Mojaji and a safety talk in the bush. The elephant experiences end with guests being offered the opportunity to feed the elephants with their favorite pellets which can be purchased at the stables a cost of R20-00 per bucket.

Elephant Encounter Options:

A one hour elephant back safari.
A game viewing experience through the bush which includes the opportunity to interact, ride and view game from the backs of two African elephant.

A one and a half hour elephant back safari.
A longer game viewing experience which is often more rewarding in terms of animal sightings in comparison to the one hour option as a greater distance is covered. We often get sightings of impala, kudu, waterbuck, giraffe, warthog and sometimes even rhino and elephant. Occasionally we have passed lions too.

A two hour elephant back safari.
The ultimate elephant experience and the best option for seeing the most animal sightings.

Elephant Interaction Options:

A 15 minute elephant interaction.
A brief introduction which includes touching, feeling and smelling the elephants

A 30 minute elephant interaction.
Again an interaction introduction to the elephants which includes a brief talk on their history as well as an explanation on the training concepts that are used and some games that are played to demonstrate smell and memory. The elephants are asked to lie down and guests can then have the opportunity to touch and feel them from head to toe.

A one hour elephant interaction.
A longer interaction experience which also covers a deeper knowledge shared by the elephant stable master and his specialized team.


More info:

  • Morning elephant experiences are conducted between 6.00-9.00am in the summer and between 7.00-10.00am in the winter.
  • Afternoon elephant experiences are conducted between 15.30-18.30 in the summer and 14.30-17.30 in the winter.
  • An additional time slot has been made available for elephant interaction experiences only, which are now conducted between 10.00am and 12.30pm throughout the year.

Summer months:  1st November to 30th March
Winter months:      1st April to 30th October

Kwa Madwala’s Elephants

Our resident stable master, Shaun Phillips is available on site. It can be arranged by appointment, for guests staying in the reserve to meet with Shaun either over drinks in the evening or following breakfast for coffee in the morning giving the opportunity to ask questions and meet this extraordinary man whose special talent and empathy with African elephants goes way beyond what others consider possible.

Rory Hensman, Shaun’s brother-in-law, has worked closely with Shaun for many years going back to his Zimbabwean farming background. Rory has worked extensively with elephants and is known as the ‘elephant whisperer’ and is currently running an elephant training center in the Limpopo province called EFAF – Elephants For Africa Forever. Rory’s training techniques are based on the principles of trust, ask and reward which is the total opposite to the methods used in India where the actual spirit of the elephant is broken.

The experiences are highly recommended to anyone who would like to experience a close and personal encounter combined with the best possible education of the African elephant, the most intelligent giants of the African bush.

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