A Unique Interactive Experience at The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

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If you’re looking for a fun and educational activity for your family or team, consider visiting the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort. You can learn more about these majestic animals and safely interact with them at the sanctuary. In this article, you can find out what the elephant interaction program at the Elephant Sanctuary is like, what to take, and how to make the most of it!

Where Is the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort?

The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort is near Hartbeespoort in the North-West Province of South Africa. The best way to get to the sanctuary is by car. It is about an hour from Pretoria and 90 minutes from Johannesburg by car. 

Don’t have a car? Rent one here.

Contact Details of The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

Here are their contact details:

Website: ​​https://hartbeespoortdam.elephantsanctuary.co.za/

Phone number: +27 (12) 258 9904 /5/6

Email address: reservations@elephantsanctuary.co.za

Address: R512 Old RTB rd, Zandfontein, Hartbeespoort Dam

History of The Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary 

The Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary started in 1999 with five elephants., growing to twelve elephants. Currently, there are three sanctuaries: one in Hartbeespoort, another in Hazyview, and the last in Plettenberg Bay. At the sanctuary, they use positive reinforcement to train the elephants, making them relaxed around visitors.

What Is the Interaction Program of The Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary Like?

A Unique Interactive Experience at The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

The educational interaction program allows visitors to get hands-on with the elephants. The program is available 7 days a week at three different time slots, including 8:00, 10:00 and 14:00. 

At the program’s start, the guides explain what the experience includes. You can also choose to have them record your experience with the elephants at an additional cost. They will send you a link to download the video later. The guides also give some safety guidelines at the start. 

The guide then explains the differences between the different types of elephants, which include the Indian, African and Asian elephants. The sanctuary only has African elephants, the largest of the three elephant types.

Another fun animal activity not far from Hartbeespoort is the Croc City Crocodile and Reptile Park.

Feeding the Elephants

Feeding the African elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort
Feeding the African elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

The first interaction is feeding the elephants while they are in an enclosure. Each visitor gets a handful of food and approaches the elephant in the enclosure. The elephants get excited about the food and stand near the enclosure’s fence. From there, they lift their trunks, and you can drop the food into their trunk. The elephants are not threatening in any way, and this is not a scary experience. Being so close to these large animals is a humbling experience.

Walking with The Elephants

From here, visitors walk with the elephants for a short distance of about two to three hundred meters to a shaded area with some seating. The guides explain what the next interaction will be like and how visitors should approach the elephants. 

Touching the Elephants

Visitors now get to interact directly with the elephant. Visitors pair up for this activity. The guide will accompany them to the elephant and explain the different parts of the elephant’s body, and they can touch these parts. Visitors touch the elephant’s ears, feet, stomachs, and even look into their mouths to see their teeth. Here, visitors can pose for photos. There are guides and elephant caretakers to help take photos.

Touching elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort
Touching elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

Once everyone has had their turn to touch the elephants, everyone (excluding the elephants) moves on to the next activity. The guide now gives a short talk explaining more elephant facts and their work with the elephants. I found it enlightening and learned many things about elephants I never knew before. 

Tips for Making the Most of The Elephant Interaction Program?

If you are an early bird and can be there for the first session at 8:00, you can help the elephants’ caretakers brush down the elephants. I can recommend getting them to record your experience, as this is a unique experience.

What Do You Need for The Elephant Interaction Experience?

All you need is your sun hat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Don’t forget to bring your camera

What Are the Prices for Visiting the Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary?

The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort amends its prices annually. Here is the price list for the experience from 1 November 2022 to 31 October 2022:

  • R980 ($54) per adult
  • R750 ($41) per pensioner
  • R495 ($27) per child (from 4 to 14 years)

Exchange rate used: 1 ZAR = $0.0545

Other Activities Near the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

Hartbeespoort offers a range of activities. You can find a Bushbaby and Monkey Sanctuary next to the Elephant Sanctuary. Other fun activities in Hartbeespoort are doing the Hartbeespoort Cable Car, cruising on Hartbeespoort Dam, visiting the Snake and Animal Park, tasting gin at the Incendo Distillery, shopping at the Jasmyn Crafters Market, visiting the upside-down house, and seeing cheetahs at the Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre,  

Where to Stay Near the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort?

As you can see, Hartbeespoort offers so many activities that you can easily spend a few days there. The closest accommodation option to the Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort is the Tuskers Bush Lodge. You can see other hotel options in the area below:

Are There Other Elephant Sanctuaries in South Africa?

South Africa has several places where you can view or interact with elephants. The Hartbeespoort Elephant Sanctuary has two sister elephant sanctuaries. The first is in Plettenberg Bay in the Garden Route of South Africa. The other is in Hazyview in the Mpumalanga Province

Other Places to View Elephants in South Africa

Many of the zoos in South Africa have elephant enclosures. You can see elephants at the largest zoo in South Africa, the Pretoria Zoo (also called the National Zoological Garden of South Africa). The Johannesburg Zoo also has an elephant enclosure that is worth visiting. 

If you prefer to see elephants in their natural habitat (no interactions here), visit the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Some of the other national parks in South Africa also have elephants. 

A Unique Interactive Experience at The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort
Sabs | South Africa Travel Blog

By Sunelle

Editor of the South Africa Travel Blog that focuses on travel to South Africa, including destinations, attractions, accommodation, food & drink.