Working with Elephants is a unique and rewarding experience that everyone should try.
When visiting Victoria Falls, stop by the Wild Horizons Victoria Falls Elephant Sanctuary. Here you can see and learn about these fantastic creatures in their natural habitat! The elephant encounter is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will never forget!
Elephants have been part of the Wild Horizons family for more than 25 years, and regardless of which phase in their care. From rescue to release back into the wild, it is all about what’s best for the elephants.
The Wild Horizons team are strong conservationists. Their ethic is associated with creating safe habitats and environments for the wildlife in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and surrounding areas.
The Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary
Those at the helm of the elephants' care know that their work is important. They are provided with ample training to do so. They have come a long way from where they started and are now able to make sure that these majestic animals stay happy, healthy, and well-tended as always!
Click here to meet the hero's who work with the elephants every day. They will tell you that each elephant is like a part of their own family. Some of these guys have worked at the sanctuary for many years and will have a wealth of information to share with you at the sanctuary.
Click here to meet Jake, Coco, Naledi, Emily, Izibulo, Janet, Jock, and Jumbo. You can read about each of them and discover how uniquely different they all are.
You can also donate or even adopt your very own elephant.
Wild Horizons' main goal with the elephant encounter in Victoria Falls is to ensure that the elephants have the best care and quality of life. This also needs to be in the most natural environment possible. They know that elephants are intelligent and social creatures, so they try to provide them with as much stimulation as possible.
The Elephant Encounter
The African elephant is one of the most majestic animals on earth and being able to see them up close is a truly wonderful experience.
The Wild Horizons team
The team will make sure that you have an unforgettable time by making it possible for you to get comfortable with these giants in their natural habitat. They’re wild but they’re also gentle, curious, and highly social animals.
The Elephant Encounter provides guests with a unique opportunity to observe the biggest personalities in Africa. They can experience an untouched wilderness environment overflowing with natural beauty.
You will get to have a heart-to-heart with the elephants and connect in the most positive and natural way possible.
The Elephant Introduction
There is an open-design thatch BOMA where guests are given a breath taking view of the Masuwe River (a tributary of the Zambezi river). Here you will learn about and be educated on the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary.
You will have an opportunity to talk to guides that have journeyed – physically and metaphorically, incredible distances with these elephants. They will tell you more about the complexities of the individuals and the herd structures.
They will tell you about the history of how these animals came to be saved by the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary, as well as the threats that the natural elephant population faces daily and the solutions to help stop them.
The Elephant Experience
Then, you will venture out into the bush to spend time with the elephants up close and personal in a true elephant encounter.
The Vic falls elephant keepers care deeply for these animals. They are responsible for looking after the many needs of the elephants, which is a tough job but also one of great importance to them!
Take lots of photographs with the elephants, while you walk alongside them through the bush and chat with the guides.
When you get back to the BOMA, it's treat time! You will have an opportunity to feed your newfound friends some tasty elephant snacks before enjoying a cool refreshment on the veranda and watching the elephants disappear back into the bush at the end of the activity.
By visiting the sanctuary, you become part of the solution. Your contributions will go a long way to ensure the future of Zimbabwe’s elephants and the efforts of continuing the care, anti-poaching, and educating the next generation about conservation in Africa.
Many people worldwide are working to ensure elephant welfare is prioritized. Not only do they know that these magnificent animals need our help, but they also believe they deserve it.
The sanctuary was established in 1992 to provide an environment where elephants could roam freely, be cared for without fear from poachers while also being used as ambassadors on behalf of African elephant conservation efforts.
If you are interested in learning more about conservation in this area, then I'd recommend visiting Elephants without Borders, a global charitable organization that is dedicated to conserving wildlife and natural resources in several different ways.
The folks in Victoria Falls truly care about keeping Africa in a pristine condition by collectively working together on all things wild, and to ensure that this beautiful land and its inhabitants will be around for generation after generation to enjoy.
African Elephants are on the Endangered List
There are two separate species of the African elephant, the savannah and the forest elephant.
The African savanna elephant is the larger of the two species and moves through open grasslands across most of East and Southern Africa. At up to four meters high and weighing nearly 10 tonnes, savanna elephants are the largest land animal alive today.
The forest elephant is smaller and reaches around 2.5 meters and weighs up to four tonnes, making this animal, one of the smallest members of the elephant family living in rainforests spread across much of Africa's interior regions.
What the Authorities say
The latest International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List studies have shown that the two species are doing much worse than was originally thought.
African elephants are officially in danger of extinction, steady drops in population have been recorded, mainly due to poaching and shrinking habitat from deforestation. Both savanna and forest populations have been classified as endangered, but it is the forest species that has suffered the most in recent times.
Andrew Terry, the Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London, says, 'Conservation efforts to protect savanna elephants have seen many populations begin to recover, but sadly the same is not true for forest elephants.
5 Interesting Elephant Facts
Have you ever wondered what makes elephants so unique? Well, besides being the largest land animals on earth, they are also very intelligent and have excellent memories. Here are 5 interesting facts you may not know about elephants.
Fear of Bees
You might think elephants are fearless because of their size, but you’d be wrong. They fear bees and even something that sounds like a swarm of bees has been known to make elephants scatter or stampede.
The African elephant also has a fear of ants. Elephants have sensitive trunks which are packed full of nerve-ending and scientists believe this causes them to experience intense pain from any stings or bites, including the painful sting of a bee or single ant bite.
Elephants are a keystone species.
This means that whole ecosystems depend on them for survival, and important plant and animal species exist because of them. One example is the dung beetle, which exists because of elephant dung.
The baobab tree relies on elephants for both moisture and nutrients to live; without the elephant, the tree dies.
Ecosystems that once had elephants, but do not anymore, can become deserts. Watch this fun video, to see how elephants help keep nature growing.
Right-handed or left?
Just as humans have a dominant right or left hand, elephants are usually more comfortable using one tusk rather than the other during fights or for functional pursuits, such as stripping bark from a tree or lifting objects.
Elephant tusks are made of ivory, which is very dense and largely consists of a material called dentin, which is also found in teeth! Dentin features at number 3 on the Mohs' scale of mineral hardness.
Elephants can recognize themselves
A landmark study showed that, unlike a chimpanzee which might mistake an image of itself for another animal in the mirror, African elephants typically identify themselves first when looking at their reflection.
Humans are only around two years old when they fully recognize themselves. Baby elephants, on the other hand, appear to demonstrate a high level of self-awareness in intelligence testing.
"These studies could have profound implications for our understanding of the species and how we can protect elephants for the long-term in Africa" –and worldwide.
Knowing that elephants are intelligent and have high-level thinking abilities may give more support to their rights and protection.
A trip to the Wild Horizons Elephant Sanctuary will not only leave you with a thrilling experience, but you will have learned something about these magnificent animals and the people who work with them.
By booking this activity, you play a small, but very vital role in the ongoing conservation efforts of African elephants in the region.
For more interesting and fun things to do in Victoria Falls, Check out out Activities Page.
-Miriam Makeba (South African singer and civil rights activist)
“Africa has her mysteries and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.”