Buffelsdrift Game Reserve is proud to lead the charge in ethical elephant experiences in Southern Africa- and we invite you to learn more with us today.

Aren’t trained elephants bad?

You are completely right! Many traditional elephant training practices are horrific. However, Buffelsdrift’s elephant team are neither ‘trained’ for unethical human entertainment nor captured from the wild. Each of our 3 largest team members were rescued as orphans after their parents were poached. Without human intervention, they would not have made it to lead their happy lives today. Joseph Maseko, their habitual handler, raised them tenderly, giving 36 litres of suitable milk every 4 hours when they were just tiny babies, and continues to care for them today- can you say elephantine effort, folks? Now young ‘teenagers’ in beautiful condition, they free-roam on the reserve during the day. At night, they sleep in a protected camp to avoid poaching risk. As part of your ethical elephant experience, you will learn how to tell our African elephants from their Asian cousins, fascinating elephant facts and much more.

Did you know? The Buffelsdrift elephants sleep 3 hours a day, spending up to 18 hours feeding on over 200 kg of food and 100 litres of water daily. At 15 and 16 years old, they have many happy years of life safe on the reserve ahead. African bush elephants live up to 70 years, and our elephants may live even longer with their protected lifestyle.

The Buffelsdrift elephant experience

This hand rearing is why they are so calm and acclimatised to people- and the reason they cannot be safely released to a wild lifestyle. Our elephants, whilst habituated to humans and their handler by necessity, are not ‘trained’ in the manner of cruel traditional Asian elephant training methods. What ‘training’ they have is fully through the use of ultra-modern positive reinforcement methods, which have led to a deep and loving bond with their handler. Don’t be surprised if they give you a ‘hug’ with their trunk! You will have an opportunity to interact with them through our elephant feeding experience, walk and feed experience, or our bush and feed experience, a portion of the proceeds from which go back into both the local community through school sponsorship and into conservation efforts.

The Buffelsdrift N/a’an Kusê foundation

Our 3 elephants are not the only orphans of poaching, sadly. The Mangetti area of North Eastern Namibia is seeing a rise in poaching incidents, and we decided we needed to take action. 125 free-roaming, wild elephants are supported through foundation efforts. Our most recent purchase, an elephant ‘collar’ which allows members of the herd to be comprehensively monitored at distance, allows for the project to monitor the herd through GPS and better manage points of conflict with the locals. Further items will include ‘camera traps’, drones and more collars, allowing humans to help the herd without interfering with them while heightening preservation efforts in the area. As many successful African models show, the more local communities are involved in conservation efforts and taught to appreciate rather than fear local wildlife, the better the results for everyone. “N/a’an Kusê” means “God will protect us”, and we are proud the foundation offers hope and recourse for these super-special mammals.

On behalf of our three special teenagers and their wild cousins in Namibia, we deeply appreciate your support and hope you enjoy Buffelsdrift’s ethical elephant experiences to the fullest during your stay with us.