Have you ever come eye to eye with an African Elephant?

The first time I did was while traveling in Botswana. We were staying at Belmond Eagle Island and had just finished lunch. My son and I wanted to return to our tent which is reached by a narrow path through the camp. Since our tent was the last one in a row, we had a nice walk through forest to get there.

Halfway through, I happened to look up to my right and there before me was a very large elephant. I looked at him and he looked at me. My heart sped up and after advising my 18-year-old son to move a bit faster, we safely bypassed the bull and reached our tent. But what a heart stopper that was and after all these years, we look back on that experience so fondly. And, since then I have become very much in love with elephants.

On another safari, also in Botswana, I stayed at Abu, a Wilderness Safaris Camp which is known for its elephant interactions. It was planned to meet the elephants as well as walk with them in the bush.

At the end of our walk, I had photos taken of me and the ellies and fed them as well. One of Abu’s baby elephants was so excited to see me, she nearly ran me over to get some attention. They don’t quite know their own strength and I didn’t know hers either. They are strong! It was an experience I will never forget.

Along with the elephant experiences in Botswana, I have been to two other camps to experience elephants up close and personal. One camp was in Zimbabwe and the other in South Africa.

There is so much to learn about these magnificent creatures. From their emotions, their memory and how we can protect them from poaching and not become extinct like the dinosaur.

Elephants are truly gentle giants, and I highly recommend an up-close and person experience included on your safari.