Anyone who has travelled through Cambodia or Thailand has probably come across the opportunity for elephant rides, getting the chance to ride atop an African Elephant (the world's largest land animal) is a little less common. Wild Horizons' Elephant-Back Safaris give you the opportunity to meet these beautiful creatures and go on a short safari to see if you can spot any other wildlife.
Pick up will usually be arranged from your hotel. The bus takes you down to the elephant sanctuary where you watch a short informational video and fill in all your forms--bring along your passports or your passport details to make sure you have all the right information. After all the formalities are over, it's time to meet the elephants.
The elephant sanctuary has a large decking that looks out onto the Masuie River. The elephants line up along the end of the decking and you have the opportunity to meet them all, pat them, and get some photos. Obviously you can get nice and close when you ride them, but you can really interact with the elephants in the meet and greet.
The ride is quite different to the usual elephant rides you come across in South East Asia. Instead of the rickety wooden seats, Wild Horizons seats are specially made for the elephants--once you move away from the platform at put your feet in the stirrups you'll feel pretty secure.
The safari takes you through the area surrounding the sanctuary and you'll get the chance to spot animals like giraffes and antelope. You also get some beautiful scenery, especially when you cross over the river. The elephant trainers are very knowledgeable about the elephants and about the area. They'll give you lots of information along the way, but they'll also be able to answer any other questions you might have.
After the ride it's elephant feeding time. This is an opportunity to say thanks to the elephants. There's a large bucket of feed, and you use your hands to scoop up the feed and give it to the elephants. You can either funnel it into their truck, or throw it into their mouth. You can guess which one is more fun. The feeding is the end of the elephant experience. They're led away and if you're on the morning safari you get to sit down to breakfast. Keep an eye on the feeding area, because a group of warthogs will always turn up to eat any of the left over feed off the ground.
The elephant safari operates at sunrise or sunset. If you're not interested in a ride but you'd still like to meet the elephants you can just take part in the elephant interaction. The safari costs $140 per person, or $181.50 if you want dinner after the sunset safari. Children must be at least 6-years-old before they can take part.
You can find out more information and book your own safari on the Wild Horizons website. Wild Horizons also offer lots of other activities around Victoria Falls including white water rafting, gorge swings, canoeing, and more.