Our top 5 places to spot elephants in SA

While their sheer size and weight earns them the title of world’s largest living land mammal, you’d be mistaken in thinking you could spot these gentle giants from a mile away.

Whether you’re planning an adventure for tourists or just a great day out, with 5 of our favourite places to spot elephants, you’ll come across the peaceful pachyderms in no time at all.


Addo Elephant National Park
Now South Africa’s third-largest national wildlife reserve, the Addo Elephant National Park is home to an African-elephant population of roughly 550.

Located in the Sundays River Valley in the Eastern Cape, just over an hour’s drive from PE, the park is a great place to visit, or stay at if you’re from out of town.

Spanning semi-arid Karoo, mountainous and coastal landscapes, Addo is a happy home for elephants, as well as rhinos, lions, buffalos, leopards, and other wildlife.

Madikwe Game Reserve
Covering an area of 750km2 in the North West province, Madikwe Game Reserve is also home to a large number of African elephants.

As one of South Africa’s lesser-known wildlife parks, Madikwe is considered to be one of the best conservation areas in Africa.

With a wide range of accommodation available, the park is a great place to take a break and spend some time away from it all.

With the Big Five in residence, Madikwe brings a little extra adventure, and also boasts three packs of wild dogs that roam the park.

Tembe Elephant Park
With 300 square kilometers of dense sand-forest and tall yellow grass, the Tembe Elephant Park lies between Zululand and Mozambique.

Here, African elephants roam wild, sharing their territory with the ancestral home of the Tembe people, who co-own and manage the Tembe Safari Lodge.

Conservation and community are high on this reserve’s list, with the opportunity to spot not only elephants and other members of the Big Five, but some of the more than 340 bird species found in the park, as well as one of the world’s smallest antelope, the suni.

Kruger National Park

A firm favourite for tourists and locals alike. With one of the country’s largest elephant populations at over 11 000, the park almost guarantees you’ll be able to tick the gentle giant off your list of sightings. Stretching across nearly two million hectares of land encompassing two provinces and two countries, the Kruger National Park is divided into 6 ecosystems, and is home to over 400 species of birds and mammals.

With plenty of places to stay and a wide variety of activities in and around the park, a trip to the Kruger Park is everything you’re looking for in a wildlife experience.

Knysna Elephant Park
If you’re looking for an elephant experience that’s a little more hands on, the Knysna Elephant Park is the place for you. The first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants, the park is currently home to the largest domesticated matriarchal herd in the country.

By allowing the elephants to interact with each other in a natural setting, the park is able to encourage instinctive elephant behaviour, and add to your experience.

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