I grew up in Johannesburg and have returned many times, but was not aware of the Elephant Sanctuary until this visit. It was an up close and personal experience with the elephants that I will highly recommend, albeit a touch expensive.
Simba gave a talk about the elephants and their maturity that was instructive, and then there was plenty of time for all to feed them. Water and sanitizer was provided for washing up. These are 'rescue' elephants and while not tame have learned to interact with the public through kindness.
Then we went to the 'touch and feel' part of the experience. Everyone could get next to an elephant; feel it's tusks, skin, foot pad, ears and have photographs. The guides even took photographs so everyone could be in the picture.
Then everyone was afforded an opportunity to walk with the elephant holding it's trunk.
It cost about $55 USD per person which I felt was a little expensive for a largish group, but I would do it again.
For an additional $50 there was an option to ride an elephant which my son-in-law did and he loved the experience. One star removed for cost, but this is an expensive operation to house and feed them.
The whole visit lasted about 3 hours and there is a shaded cafe with drinks, light food, souvenir's etc.
It is next door a monkey sanctuary which we did not do, but I am told it is worthwhile. Also the Hartbeesport cableway and extensive African markets. It makes an excellent day and is about 75 minute drive from Sandton.
Note: There was a visitor in a wheelchair which was handled very well. There is a 10 minute walk on non paved ground from the car park.
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