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The Traveller's Magazine
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We’ve loved elephants since our first screening of Dumbo. If spending your holidays hanging out with a herd of elephants is on your list of things to do this year then here’s what you need to know. From national parks to reserves, these are the best places in the world to hang with elephants.

We’ve already covered where the best places to see tigers so it’s about time we gave the other big names in the Animal Kingdom a little press too. If you’ve always wanted to see some elephants up close but aren’t too keen on seeing them at the zoo, these are the best parks to hang out with a herd of elephants.

Damaraland in Namibia


For the world’s biggest elephants, northern Namibia is where you should be planning to go. The male elephants can grow as tall as 11 feet (3.3m) at their shoulders! There’s something fascinating about searching for elephants on the edge of a desert. The elephants that live here are just one of two species that survive in desert conditions and thanks to huge conservation programs, the modest population is slowly growing.

Tsavo National Park in Kenya

Majestic red elephant of Tsavo East

Have you ever wanted to see a red elephant? These gentle giants can be found in the eastern parts of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. But don’t be fooled by their red colour, it’s not real. Well it is, but it’s not the colour of their skin. If you hang around these elephants long enough you’ll realise that they like to get dirty and they get their colour from rolling around in the rust-coloured dust.

Flights to Kenya

Hongsa in Laos


If you’re after Asian elephants, then head for the “Land of a Million Elephants,” Laos. The lush green landscapes with forest-covered mountains plays a stunningly different backdrop for seeing elephants than Africa. Hongsa is a bit remote but the trip there is worth it. Many of the elephants here are domesticated but very playful. Best time to visit? February, during the Elephant Festival.

Chobe National Park in Botswana


If you’re after herd after herd of elephants, Chobe is the place. There are around 70,000 elephants here (the largest concentration on the planet) and you’re guaranteed to spot some when you visit this park. You may also spot a lion or two, some zebras and antelope. During the dry season the herds mostly stay around the Linyanti River and when the wet season arrives they move to the south-east.

Tips for your elephant trip

When going out to see the elephants and particularly when doing a walking tour, remember to wear clothes that blend in with your surroundings. In Africa there’s a reason why khaki kit has become the stereotype. Avoid wearing anything white.

Make sure you take a guide into the bush with you who knows a thing or two about elephant behaviour. Mothers with calves can charge without any warning.

Which exotic animal would you most like to run into on your travels?

Imgs: blieusong, fotos_medemtimcopeland, thepaperboy / Flickr cc.

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