There is nothing quite like getting really close to an elephant. When I was much younger I don't ever remember being nervous with them, even when they were standing less than a meter away from the car. I guess as a child you feed off of what the big people around you portray. I remember the whispering most, and today it's a sound that triggers that childhood memory for me of sitting with elephants! Not what was said as such but the way a whisper carries in an open landcruiser in the Ruaha. The Elephants are near silent, all you hear is their slow and rhythmic breathing, with the odd crack from a stubborn tree branch as they gently feed their massive bodies. A very peaceful experience that has stayed with me for the last 30 years.
That was when I was younger though! being older you are suddenly aware of the size of the animals and you have seen all the youtube videos of what they are capable of. You start to question your guide and ask yourself if this is really safe. Then you look at your guide, and if he is a good one like Sven Liebchen from Authentic Tanzania, you see that he is smiling. This calms you enough to look at the beautiful animals themselves and you can put your nerves at the back of your mind, absorbed into the slow and gentle rhythm these majestic animals follow through their lives.
Below are a few picture I took when I have been very close to elephants. If you haven't already, hopefully you will have some of your own one day. See recommendations below for where to stay.
These photos were taken in Selous and Ruaha, southern Tanzania.
If you want to get close up and personal with the animals we recommend:
Lake Manze tented camp
Authentic Tanzania's Majimoto camp
Mdonya Old River camp
Authentic Tanzania's Kilimatonge camp