The largest land mammal in the world, the African elephant has long held a special place in the hearts of visitors to this amazing continent. With Elephant Appreciation Day falling on 22 September this year, how well do you know these unique animals? Go Touch Down Travel and Tours brings you all the info you need to truly appreciate these magnificent beasts on your next safari.
The ‘bull’, or male, of the herd can often weigh a staggering seven tons. Up close and personal in an open-topped safari vehicle, you get a real sense of how massive that is! African elephants stand taller at their shoulder then the top of their head, with larger tusks and ears then their Asian cousins. Males and females both grow tusks, finding them useful for digging, fighting and marking their turf.
Sadly, the roaming pattern of modern African elephants is being increasingly reduced by pressure from man, but they inhabit a wide range of terrains – savannah, brush, forest, riverine scrub and even some semi-desert areas of Namibia. Although they need about 160 litres of water a day, they are a remarkably adaptable and versatile species.
That iconic trunk? It is actually the African elephant’s nose, with the nostrils perching on the very tip, alongside two ‘finger-like’ projections, that allow them a staggering range of dexterity. The trunk is an adaptation that lets them easily reach tasty leaves from high trees, or pluck grass and fruit, and get them into their mouths. It’s so much more, though, allowing them a way to touch and communicate, smell, drink, and play at bath time. You’ll see them frolicking and spraying each other at waterholes during your trip.
While the poaching threat has been on the unfortunate rise in recent years, parks, cultures and people throughout Southern Africa are taking massive leaps to eradicate this illegal industry. We at Go Touch Down Travel and Tours are glad to be able to contribute to protecting and preserving these unique herbivores.
With National Wildlife Day coming up on the 4th, and Elephant Appreciation Day too, we have two perfect opportunities to celebrate these amazing creatures and the critical role they play in maintaining Africa’s ecosystem. Come see them up close on safari with us.