Well we were very excited because today we are going to ride the elephants!!! Aiden rode with me and Evan rode with Scott and there was a handler riding as well. The boys actually did not shy away from the ride at all. And oddly enough Aiden barely said two words the entire ride and Evan talked the entire time! Aiden & I rode on Mukwa which is a type of tree in SA that is used for very nice furniture. Evan and Scott rode on Duma which means the rolling of thunder. The third elephant is Thaba which means happy. Duma is the youngest at 18 years and the other two are 20. They are all around 3 meters high at shoulder and will grow to 4 meters when full grow. Elephants can live to 80 years and beyond! They eat 200-300 kilograms of food per day! These three were originally from Kruger National Park.. and were taken to Knysna Elephant Park (which we will be visiting next week) when they were around 4 years old. At this park they were "tamed" and have been at the reserve since 2003. As we walked thru the bush on the safari, the handlers gave us so much information about the elephants, and the area. It is hard to remember all of it!! They were very knowledgeable and most have been doing this type of work for years. And a few have been with these elephants since they came here. We were told they are like family. It is obvious the love they have for the animals thru their enthusiasm. Ok -- so to the photos.. here are the photos of us on our ride... someone also took video for us which we will try to download to a dvd and put on here as well...
After the 2 km safari on elephant back ... we headed out on a walk with the elephants..we just followed behind, watched them interact in their normal environment and then stopped to feed them!! We fed them large pellets right into the trunks and into their mouths! Of course, the boys would not get that close to them but Scott & I did! They are just amazing animals!!
After the snack the elephants headed over to the watering hole by the restaurant. We were able to sit and just watch them roll around in the water and play! This was awesome to watch them. They are actually very graceful animals for their size.
After waving goodbye to the elephants, we packed up and headed home with some great memories and an experience we can talk about forever! Aiden named his stuffed elephant he sleeps with Mukwa and Evan named his stuffed doggie Duma. And last night it took forever to get them to sleep (even though they were exhausted) because they kept talking about the elephants! These are the things that makes living here awesome!! Where else would you have this type of experience. AMAZING!!
Well stay tuned.. we leave tomorrow for our next leg of the vacation... to the Garden Route as it is called here. I will update next weekend with all the amazing sites! Hope you are all well!!