Mission 51- Walk with African Elephants at the Plettenberg Elephant Sanctuary

Mission 51- Walk with African Elephants at the Plettenberg Elephant Sanctuary

"We walked through the forest and I had this unusual feeling that overcame my every being. There is something about being in the presence of such a magnificent animal that brings on a peculiar emotion demanding instant ‘Twinsaver’ tissues."

Plettenberg Bay, "Bahia Formosa" (Beautiful Bay) is situated approximately 27km from Knysna and is a popular tourist destination along the Garden Route. The views of the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains encompasses the landscape with its golden beaches, indigenous forests and wine route. Southern right, migratory Humpback and Bryde’s whales make Plettenberg Bay their home during certain times of the year to calve.


About 16km from Plett is The Crags, Animal Alley situated near Natures Valley where I would be fulfilling one of my biggest dreams on my water tower list- Walking with African Elephants!


Arriving at the Elephant Sanctuary in Plett, I was welcomed by remarkable staff and handlers whose passion and dedication towards the elephants was conveyed in such a devoted manner. Their love and respect for the majestic creatures was clearly evident. For them, the elephants were family and I was educated about so many interesting traits and facts regarding these goliath mammals.


Elephant Sanctuary Plett

Walking towards the elephants- Marula, Jabo and Thandi with their handlers calling them, I suddenly felt a sense of vulnerability. Here I was, this tiny mouse compared to these giants… I was in their territory, in their home and I knew I had to have consideration when interacting with them. I didn’t want to become a flat pancake.


So many tourists take the ‘wild’ factor out of the situation when having the opportunity to interact with such astonishing animals. It’s almost this mentality of ‘the elephants are near people therefore they are tame’. No matter how tame these animals may seem, they are always ultimately wild and you’re ALWAYS at risk being in their presence so never become complacent and not treat the situation seriously! Listen to the professionals and respect any animals habitat be in the natural wild or a ‘controlled’ environment such as this one.


I was introduced to the elephants and found my place amongst the herd to take a walk with them into the forest. I was shown how to hold my arm behind my back with my fingers slightly curled so that Thandi could hold onto my hand with her enormous trunk. I was about to experience holding the inside of an elephant nose and I stood there hoping there wasn’t any nose boogers to accompany that! Can an elephant sneeze? ~gulp~


Walking with the elephants was an exhilarating experience to say the least. I kinda walked as far forward as possible with the worry of Thandi stepping on my toes. Perhaps wearing open flip flops was not a good idea for this scenario. The handler explained to me how even if I tripped and fell in front of her, she would step right over me careful not to trample me.


Elephant Sanctuary Plett

We walked through the forest and I had this unusual feeling that overcame my every being. There is something about being in the presence of such a magnificent animal that brings on a peculiar emotion demanding instant ‘Twinsaver’ tissues. Elephants have an amazing way of somehow telepathically interconnecting with your soul that just brings tears to your eyes.


Elephant Sanctuary Plett

I stood in the forest next to Thandi and got to interact with her… feeling her wavy ears, staring deep into her dazzling eyes with long eye lashes. She had such a sense of compassion and empathy, I felt privileged to be standing next to her. It was as if she authorized permission in the animal kingdom for me to be standing so close and it saddened me to think about the amount of elephants that are being poached and abused.


Elephant Sanctuary Plett

We returned back from our forest adventure and fed the elephants some pumpkin treats which they loved and appreciated.


Elephant Sanctuary Plett

I would personally like to thank Peter Otto and The Elephant Sanctuary- Plettenberg Bay for accommodating me and sharing your passion for what I would regard as one of my most favourite animals.


If you would like to experience interacting with elephants or walking with them then contact The Elephant Sanctuary at http://www.elephantsanctuary.co.za


Until the Next Adventure…


Pace Yourselves

Little MMI