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“Know one of the "big five"...”

Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeesport Dam
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Elephant Sanctuary Tour from Johannesburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Elephant Sanctuary has African elephants and offers an interactive elephant experience, elephant back riding and overnight accommodation. We offer hands-on educational elephant interactions. This provides our guests with a far more intimate experience with the elephants. Our dedicated staff is committed to the use of positive reinforcement elephant training methods and as a result we have relaxed elephants who enjoy interacting with our guests.Guests are guided on foot through The Elephant Sanctuary. Guides will provide in-depth information and insight into African Elephants. You will be introduced to our elephants in the forest area, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants. You will see the special relationship that the elephant handlers share with their elephants and become a part of it. Walk trunk-in-hand with the elephants. See the stables where the elephants sleep at night. Guests learn about elephant anatomy and are able to feed them. Remember to wear flat walking shoes, sun hats and bring your camera. The 08h00 Elephant Experience includes brushing the elephants down.Open 7 days a week, at 08h00; 10h00 and 14h00.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
29 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Know one of the "big five"...”
Reviewed December 30, 2012

One place that I do recommend to visit.

The experience is good, you get a information from the tour-guides and get to know the elephants better... is not only about go there touch an elephant and get a picture but they do try to teach you a bit about them, the physiology, habits, behavior and also about the whole idea of the sanctuary.

To feed, touch the elephants and walk with them you can spend around R500 but if you also want to ride one of them that will add around R400 more. The tour is offered 3 times a day so better call and schedule at your preference in advance. I just went there without appointment and had to wait for almost two hours but lucky there is a big market 1km away where I spent the time.. (by the way go there, good prices and many options, take into account that I went on a weekend) . My advice based on the experience is that the extra money for riding them does not worth it... you get to ride them in an enclosure for about 4 - 5 minutes and even if it´s nice, it´s not an experience that I´ll qualify as amazing, it´s just nice.

You first get there, park the car, go to the reception where you sign the paperwork and also pay, after they let you chilling at the restaurant for a few minutes. After that you go and get a small info speech, feed the elephants and go to a close spot to touch them and take photos.. ahh and if you are lucky get a kiss from Thumbo that is one of the older animals there. After all that you chill at the restaurant again and go for the "elephant walk" which is to go in front of the elephant holding the trump in a circle... not too exiting but surely an experience and nice to get pictures.

According to the conversations I had with the people there and the staff members it´s better if you go early so you see when they exercise and bath the elephants... I went during the afternoon time and at least on December it can be very hot (38 degrees for example) :/

There is a restaurant to buy small snacks, a small souvenir store and parking spot, the nearby market is a plus for this attraction over the weekends.

Have fun!

P.S: According to the paper you sign, all pictures you take belong to the sanctuary... :/ I guess is mostly if used for commercial purposes...

Visited December 2012
Thank Feds-Vargas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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240 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
The Hague, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
215 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Great experience touching the elephants”
Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

The tour is given three times per day, so it's best to book. The tours are very informative and hands on. You get up close with the elephants, which is a great experience.
Though they only have 5 elephants everyone gets a go at feeding and touching the elephants. Optionally you can even ride an elephant, but this is just a circle inside the fencing. They also serve a lunch, for which you need to book. The staff is very friendly and Sam is a great tour guide.

Thank Pimmetje_7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Randburg, Gauteng, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Moment in time at the Elephant Sanctuary - Hartebeespoort Dam”
Reviewed November 21, 2012

On the 30 October 2012, Michael and I went to celebrate our wedding anniversary with the beautiful Elephants at the sanctuary. We had no idea that our day would be filled with such beauty and magnificence. On arrival we were happily greeted by the reception and guided to sit on the patio and to our amazement were able to watch the Elephants being groomed, prepped and exercised at 7am. When the time came for us to connect and play with the Elephants I was so excited, as she handed me the brush with her long trunk so I could brush her, my heart felt such a deep warmth for this magnificent creature, her long eyelashes and gentle energy filled me with peace and Grace. After brushing her down, we given a little show by the Elephants with their trainers, amazing to see how they understood exactly what was required of them. Michael and I then went on a ride with the trainers and then the best part of all we go to interact with them. I hugged her trunk and squeezed her belly, touched her beautiful long eyelashes and felt the softness of her foot pads. Wow so awesome, definitely a do over.

Visited October 2012
Thank Samantha-Lewis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Good day out”
Reviewed October 25, 2012

I took my son's friend from Scotland to see the Ellies and at the end as a SA citizen enjoyed it as much as him - especially the KISS

Visited December 2011
Thank RoelienC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A message of Hope”
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Themba meaning Hope is my favourite elephant at the sanctuary. I love your great kisses Themba and somehow your big heart makes even those afraid to feel a lot softer. The amazing elephants break though the barriers of your heart and help you see it's wisdom. The educational is phenomenal with great humour. I would love the walk to be one in the forest amongst natural environment but loved the feeding. The educational is certainly the best amongst all the educationals that I have been to in the country. The interaction opportunities could be improved to include this in a more natural setting.

Visited August 2012
Thank Iris143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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