The Elephant Camp: Information from the owner
All the information on this page is supplied to us directly from the lodge owner and reflects their view, not ours.
For Expert Africa's view, see our own report, which contains our own observations and views.
|No. of rooms||12|
Main description of The Elephant Camp
The Elephant Camp: Facilities
|Room facilities||Air Conditioning, Deck, Dressing Gowns, En-Suite, Fan, Fridge, Hair Dryer, Heater, Mini Bar, Outside Shower, Private Pool / Jacuzzi, Pure Cotton Linen, Safe, Shower, Tea / Coffee, Verandah, Lounge Area|
|Available services||Airport Shuttles, Credit Card, Laundry Service, Travel Desk|
|Activities on site||(some activities may be seasonal) Elephant-back Safaris, Bird Watching, Adrenaline Activities, Animal Encounters, Boat Cruises, Canoeing, Catch-and-release Fishing, Cultural Tours, Fishing, Game Drives, Game Viewing, Game Walks, General Sightseeing, Helicopter Rides, Hiking, Horse Riding, Horse-back Safaris, Kayaking / Paddling, Quad Biking, Rhino Tracking, River Cruises, Tree-top Canopy Tours|
Room types at The Elephant Camp
Family Luxury Tented Suites
All suites are gorge facing and have:- Private viewing deck and plunge pool Private lounge area Air-conditioning and fans Bath with a view Inside and outside shower Mini bar and tea/coffee stations 220V main Electricity Fold Out Sleeper couch The Two Family Suites at The Elephant Camp are equipped with one king-sized bed and one fold-out sleeper bed (double).
Standard Luxury Tented Suites
All suites are gorge facing and have:- Private viewing deck and plunge pool Private lounge area Air-conditioning and fans Bath with a view Inside and outside shower Mini bar and tea/coffee stations 220V main Electricity The Standard Luxury Tented Suites accommodate up to 2 guests (Twin or Double)
Activities at The Elephant Camp
Included in you stay at The Elephant Camp is the opportunity to interact with the resident herd of Elephant that live on the Wildlife Estate. Understanding their history, outlined below, and our long term policy will help you get the best out of your interaction with these amazing animals.
In the 1980's the Zimbabwean Department of National Parks had a policy of culling what they deemed excess elephant within the National Parks. The policy at the time was to destroy the entire herd, apart from juveniles, who were no longer dependent on mother’s milk, yet small enough to translocate. These elephant orphans were sold to various local farmers and to zoos and circuses around the world. Most farmers bought the elephant to restock their farms, however, being hand reared they very quickly became habituated to people and often became a "handful" to have around. Being totally habituated, it was felt at the time that it would be difficult to safely release them to the wild as it would only be a matter of time before they wondered into a village or town.
The idea of taking the habituation one step further and training the animals was borne and a local farmer, Rory Hensman, very successfully trained the first elephants in Zimbabwe. Rory approached Wild Horizons, a safari operation based in Vic Falls, with a view to utilizing the elephant in the tourism industry. Initially skeptical of the idea, Wild Horizons took on the project knowing that in order for it to be a success the welfare of the elephant was paramount. With this in mind Wild Horizons sent two of it’s guides, earmarked to “manage” the elephant, to Riddles Elephant training school in Little Rock Arkansas. Here they were taught not only how to humanly train the elephant but equally important how to look after elephant in captivity. The original herd of 4 orphans were translocated to Wild Horizons in 1997.
Over the last 17 years Wild Horizons has become the recognized elephant sanctuary for orphaned and abandoned elephant and the herd has now grown to 23 animals, all of which are either orphaned or have been born within the herd.
On safari, the elephants are only ridden for a maximum of two hours a day and the rest of the time they are free to roam in the wild, what we call "elephant time". Whilst in the wild they regularly encounter other animals, including elephant, and have on a number of occasions joined up with these wild herds for short periods of time, only to return to camp of their own free will at a later stage. Two of our females have given birth after being impregnated by wild bulls and during the time that they were being serviced they showed no inclination to leave the security of their domesticated herd and join the wild bulls. Three of our females were covered by our “domestic” bulls and have successfully raised the offspring.
Each day the elephants partake in a short training program, which re-enforces the bond between the handlers and elephant. The training is totally based on the American method of rewarding an elephant each time they obeys a command correctly and does not involve any beating, shouting or any other form of intimidation
In addition to offering guests an insight into elephant behavior we also have a wonderful opportunity for researching and studying elephant in an as natural environment as possible whilst at the same time being able to interact with them. Because of this we make our facilities available to study parties and have hosted Caitlin O’Connell who made some remarkable discoveries in the communication of elephant.
Wild Horizons hosted Daphne Sheldrick, widow of David Sheldrick the founder of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who fully endorsed our operation stating ”It was very good to meet someone in Southern Africa sensitive to the welfare of Elephants”.
Wild Horizons has subsequently established The Wild Horizons Wildlife Trust which is a non-profit organisation promoting conservation awareness, together with education and empowerment of local indigenous communities, through sustainable use of indigenous resources.
Based at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the Trust is dedicated to protecting the area’s unique indigenous fauna and flora, in collaboration with appropriate Authorities, local communities and other stakeholders. Projects include but are not limited to, rehabilitation of injured or orphaned wildlife, anti poaching and wildlife veterinary assistance where required, assisting with provision of water to both wildlife as well as local communities, creation of HIV/AIDS awareness and self help employment initiatives.
Selected Spa Treatments are available in the privacy of your suite (subject to availability, on request at an additional charge).