IMG_5368Buffelsdrift luxury safari lodge has three massive members of the team- our three elephants! If you’ve ever wondered what goes into our elephant experiences, or even why there’s elephants at our game lodge at all, you’re sure to enjoy this fun-filled look at the largest members of our little family.

Many Karoo game lodges have elephants roaming wild on the grounds, but our elephants are a little different. Here’s their story- and how you can meet them for yourself.

Buffelsdrift elephant experiences- the difference is in the love

Elephants. You can see them anywhere in Africa, right? Well, not quite, but there’s certainly a bunch of places throughout Southern Africa if you want to see elephants roaming.

We ask you to imagine this, however. A grown man, with his own concerns, sacrificing sleep night after night to wake up every 4 hours. Tenderly caring for tiny baby elephants as they slurp down 36L at every feed. Caring for, loving and bonding with these babies left orphaned, scared and alone, bewildered without their familiar herds and mothers.

That man is Joseph Maseko, and he is the Buffelsdrift elephant difference. We didn’t choose this life for our elephants- they were simply the sad ‘fallout’ from poaching activities, yet more innocent victims of this heinous activity. Without him, they would never have survived. Today, they are ‘his babies’ and family.

We didn’t choose this life for them, but we have done everything possible to give them their very best life regardless. Today, we use the help of these gargantuan members of the Buffelsdrift family to keep guests aware of the realities of poaching incidents happening daily, and the need to support conservation efforts. These are not ‘our elephants’. They are our family. They are Africa’s elephants.

Who are the Buffelsdrfit elephants?

The 3 babies we took in are now strapping teenagers of 17. Jabari (‘powerful) is the resident youngest child, a naughty trouble stirrer with an angelic face. Bulelo (‘thank you’) is a little older and growing into a powerful bull. Malaika’s name means angel, she’s the matriarch and commands her ‘brothers’ accordingly.

Do the elephant experiences benefit the elephants?

With Joseph Maseko protectively close, you know his (very large) little ones receive only the best for their needs, but do they actually enjoy human interaction? Elephants are very social beings, normally getting this social interaction from their herds. Raised acclimatised to humans by the need for bottle feeding, this is exactly why our three never could be rehabilitated into the wild. So, they don’t view human socialisation as abnormal- we are simply very small and strange members of the herd. They also get plenty of (safe) treats in the form of fruit and veggies when guests visit them, so, like any teenager getting something delicious, they’ll quickly be your friend!

Does Buffelsdrift do elephant conservation, too?

Given their tragic starts, there’s no way we could ignore the bigger issue of elephant conservation. Commercial farmers conflicting with natural elephant movement in the Kruger National Park brought the three orphans to us. Today, a herd of 125 free-roaming elephants in the Mangetti area of Namibia face a similar plight, conflicting with commercial farming interests. We donate a portion of the elephant experience funds to support conflict mitigation and research for the Mangetti ellies, as well as providing tracking collars and other technology to help keep the herd safe and contribute to our knowledge of these amazing animals.

Why elephant washing?