Thursday, February 19, 2009

Elephant Sanctuary

So we went to the Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort Dam, about an hour from our house. The girls had a day off and so we wanted to do something fun. At the sanctuary they take care of elephants that can't live for whatever reason in the wild anymore. It is really a caring team who love and take care of the elephants. They will introduce you to a unique experience of touching, feeding, walking and riding with these magnificent and gentle creatures.

Here the caretaker lets Jasmine and Juliet touch all different parts of the elephant. The skin is quite tough, but behind the ears it is soft and velvety. The elbows are very rough and the feet are surprisingly kinda soft again. The hairs on the tail are so bushy... This is needed to kill the flies. This is Temba, a baby one, only 9 years old, so cute ;-)

He was a very handsome boy with the longest eye-lashes! (scroll down to the other close-up in my previous post and you'll see that the older elephant didn't have such long lashes) Oh, and he is the best kisser!! The most gentle one, but the girls didn't dare to let him give a kiss. You would have had slobber all over your face, the girls and me didn't find that appealing. But many other visitors were kissed by him ;-)

This boy was 11 years old, and he showed us some tricks he could do. Like sitting down.

Here JJ walks with the elephant. All elephants walk in groups behind each other, holding each other's tail. So Juliet had to pretend her arm was her tail, the elephant takes her hand in his trunk... a bit snotty, but fun! Jasmine wasn't interested in doing this. She loves little creepy crawlers, but if the animal is a bit (a lot) bigger then she bails out. Which is fine, we just walked next to JJ.

The feeding part is so much fun. You get a whole bucket of dry pallets and you can dump a handful in their trunks. The girls couldn't get enough of this ;-)

Here is Jasmine with 2 hands full of food giving to one of the elephants. They made sure that each elephant got an equal amount... so cute!!

More, more, the elephants couldn't get enough, and Jezz is going back to the bucket to get more.

We had a fun day at the sanctuary. It is a beautiful surrounding in between the Magaliesberg mountains. The elephants go each day out for 2 hours to feed and walk around in the nature. Did you know that elephants only sleep 3 hours a day, in intervals of 30 minutes, not more. The rest of the 21 hours they eat!
The people who come and visit the elephants are a nice way of not getting bored, so we are THEIR entertainment ;-)

Living in Africa is fun, you can see so many wild animals so close by home!
Have a great day!

1 comment:

rosemary said...

I am so jealous! I love elephants and I always jump at any chance to visit with them or photograph them.


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