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Victoria Falls by the Zambezi team

...launching point for extraordinary safaris into Southern Africa

  • Elephant Camp trail, Zimbabwe
  • an elephant encounter that this young lady will never forget
  • elephant trail on the edge of the Zambezi River
  • trail from Elephant Camp, Zimbabwe
  • Thorntree elephants, Zambia
  • resident elephants at Thorntree

Fast Facts

  • Great photo opps!
  • Educational & interactive
  • Zimbabwe and Zambia

Elephant safaris

Half-day encounters in Victoria Falls to interact with orphaned African elephants and join an elephant back safari

Have you ever dreamed of really feeling at one with the African bush?  Elephant-back trails, encounters and safaris offer a unique and exciting way to explore the wilderness around Victoria Falls. You'll get a chance to connect with these magnificent animals as they carry you through grasslands and forests in the area. You're also be able to view the surrounding wildlife in a much more natural way than from a vehicle.

You'll have an opportunity to learn about these incredible creatures and gain some insight into the relationship between African elephants and humans. You'll also get a better understanding of the issues that elephant conservationists tackle on a daily basis in Africa.

There are five different herds in Victoria Falls and Livingstone. We recommend only two.

  • The Wild Horizons Trust manages one herd of orphaned elephants in Zimbabwe at Elephant Camp. These trails take you on an extraordinary journey along the edge of the Zambezi gorges following ancient game trails and exploring the majestic grasslands of Victoria Falls National Park. 
  • The Zambian elephant back safari trails begin at Thorntree Lodge in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park.

If your looking for more than just a quick encounter then join us for a few days further afield in Zimbabwe, Zambia or Botswana on real safaris for elephant lovers below.

Domestication of African elephants

The use of any animal for the pleasure of humans will always be a contentious issue. Elephant back safaris are no exception.

However, the use of elephants in the tourism industry was imminent. We decided to take the opportunity to set the bar of standards at a high level in the hopes other operators would follow suit. Another all-influencing factor for organising these safaris was that culling operations in the area resulted in a large number of orphaned calves. If a decent lifestyle could be found for these calves, we wanted to be a part of it.

Our preferred operator is the recognised haven for genuine orphaned calves and will continue to care for these distressed or injured youngsters. This operator is radically opposed to the capture of elephants in any form for commercial purposes.

Elephant Back Safaris - Victoria Falls - Zimbabwe

Sunrise Safaris depart at 6:30am (in summer) and 7am (in winter), and last approximately 3 hours.

After pick-up from any hotels or B&B's in Victoria Falls, you'll be transferred to the Wallow, the base for the elephant-back safaris within the Victoria Falls National Park concession.

You'll get a chance to meet and interact with the elephants before getting on your elephant and beginning the safari. The ride lasts for approximately 1½ - 2 hours through the natural grasslands and mopane forests of the concession and along the edge of the impressive Batoka Gorge.

You'll learn about these incredible creatures and gain some wisdom into the relationship between the African Elephant and humans. After your safari, you'll be served a full English breakfast and have a chance to watch and purchase a dvd of the safari.

Sunset Safaris depart at 3:30pm and the duration is approximately 3 hours. The Sunset Safari is essentially the same as the Sunrise Safari above. It includes snacks and sundowner drinks.

Elephant Back Safaris - Livingstone - Zambia

Tea, coffee and cordials are served on arrival. After a short introductory talk and safety briefing, you are introduced to the elephants and their handlers before mounting the great animals. Then, you'll head off through the riverine bush, crossing the river in shallow water to get onto the many islands.

After the approximately 1-hour ride, you will dismount and interact with the elephants. The guides will enlighten you with an interesting and informative explanation about the African Elephant and their relationship with man. 

The morning ride experience lasts about 4 hours and ends with a full English breakfast and the opportunity to view a video of each guest's elephant ride. Includes transfers, tea, coffee, breakfast and cordial drinks. The mid-morning experience and afternoon rides are similar to the morning ride but include snacks, local beer and wine instead of tea and breakfast.

Elephant Interaction

The elephant interaction experience lasts about 30 mins and consists of a short introduction and then 20 mins of direct interaction. The price includes bottled water but not the transfer.

Do you question the ethics of "elephant encounters" and "elephant back trails and safaris"? Here's our position on the welfare of captive elephant herds.


Enquiries and bookings

Contact the Zambezi team

Please let us have as much relevant info as possible...

The following isn't compulsory but would be very helpful

...activities with elephant back safaris

Zambezi white water rafting

Adventure Pass

Take a cruise plus two other activities: whitewater, canoeing, elephant trail, lion encounter or helicopter flip.

Zambezi rafting

Super deals

Simply pre-book selected activities or a safari to claim a free sunset cruise or qualify for a free helicopter flip over Vic Falls

Steve Edwards on a walking trail

Safari Pass

Take a Chobe day-trip plus one other safari activity: canoeing, elephant trail, horseback trail or walking trail and save 10%.

...real safaris for elephant-lovers