I was recently invited by Sean Hensman of Adventures with Elephants, to enjoy an extraordinary elephant encounter experience at a very special elephant sanctuary in Limpopo. This incredible sanctuary offers a very personal touch and feed elephant experience as well as elephant safaris, starlight elephant safaris and my favourite of all would be the option to swim with elephants! (Blow your hair back WOW!!) One really senses an element of deep connection with the elephants as you learn their names, their individual stories and what special commands they can follow. Each elephant has an incredible story as does the history of this special elephant sanctuary. As a guest, one feels emotively stirred by how and why all the majestic mammals are standing in front of you.
The Adventures with Elephants venue is breathtaking. Having driven from the city, it made my shoulders relax within split seconds of looking at the watering hole where the elephants congregated before our elephant experience started. The seating area where you can relax before the elephant interaction starts, offers epic views across the nature reserve allowing the client to really leave their worries behind.
The elephant interaction program was fun and educational. It was interesting to learn that these wonderful regal elephants are or already can, track poachers for the benefit of other animals, check boundary fences for breakages, roundup cattle for dipping etc. I felt a sense of wonderment hearing that each of these elephants had once been unwanted for supposed ‘bad behaviour’ and with the generosity and intense love for animals, that the Hensman family has created an environment where the elephants can live in peace, harmony and have purpose. Each elephant creates a legacy of educating the public about the environmental issues that they face and promotes a very small handful of incredible people who are extremely passionate about their conservation.
What I enjoyed most about the elephant interaction would be feeding the elephants, touching the elephants and feeling the texture of their skin and feet. I noticed how the elephants were so willing to please, by the lovely un-harmful command exercises that they did such as kick a ball, rise up on two legs, trumpet loudly and lie down for petting. With animal encounters one will always be asked the question about how the animals are treated and this is something that we can only explain through instinct. When I arrived at the Adventures with Elephants venue I felt instant relaxation and peace, I could sense passion and pure/true intent from Sean Hensman in the way he executed the event and shared openly with guests. The guides who work with the elephants daily exuded respect for the beautiful creatures in their care but also had a lovely balance of control and vigilance in terms of the public and being conscious of our safety.
After the elephant interaction we were about to leave, when Sean surprised us with an unbelievable elephant experience upgrade to include the elephant safari! What a special treat to enjoy an elephant ride through the game reserve. I had only ever ridden an elephant in North Thailand and it was far from comfortable. The Adventures with Elephant’s safari experience was quiet, peaceful, surreal and slightly spiritual. I felt sorry for the elephant guide as I chatted away wanting to know lots of facts and information about him, the elephant we were riding and the game reserve.
I had a wonderful time at the Adventures with Elephants game reserve and I look forward to promoting the wonderful experiences to all my clients. I still have it on my bucket-list to swim with the elephants and for this reason I’ll be back!
Celestial Gift Experiences Top Ten Activity Gift Vouchers
Written and experienced by Odette Butcher, Chief Bucket-List Genie
Learn more about this once in a lifetime experience at www.celestialgifts.co.za