At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Few sights are more exhilarating than scoping out elephants in the wild. Known for their massive size, keen intelligence, and loyalty to family and their herd, elephants are breathtaking in their untamed form. Of course, observing such large animals in nature also means a true adrenaline rush. After all, they can be unpredictable. That’s why you need to work with an experienced and well-reputed tour operator. A family travel advisor with strong local ties will ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch.
Where to see elephants in the wild? Here are some of our favorite destinations for a truly magical outdoor experience.
Where is the best place to see elephants in their natural habitat? Botswana’s Okavango Delta is renowned the world over for its animal migration routes frequented by elephants. Free of farmland and fences, the nation has cultivated a popular wildlife haven well worth your visit. This unimpeded corridor welcomes more than 130,000 elephants on one of the continent’s most extraordinary wildlife migrations.
With so much attention surrounding the elephants of Botswana, there are many ways to see them. They include everything from tours on foot to those by canoe and Jeep. We recommend Jeep tours, especially for families with younger children. Get ready for the wild elephant experience of your life when you visit this African gem.
In the jungles of Thailand, an estimated 3,000 to 3,700 elephants roam freely. Populations are concentrated in protected areas like Khao Yai National Park, Kuiburi National Park, and Khao Sok National Park. Over the centuries, Thailand’s elephant population diminished dramatically. But recent initiatives have helped these gentle giants return from the brink of extinction.
It’s illegal to capture a wild elephant, and local sanctuaries offer care and rehabilitation to vulnerable individuals. One of our favorites is the Kanta Elephant Sanctuary, which provides a voluntourism experiences you and your kids will never forget. Or consider a stay at a reserve with tree house accommodations, hands-down one of the best ways to spy these elusive creatures.
If you’re after elephant herds against a backdrop of some of the most iconic and picturesque terrain in the world, then Kenya’s your golden ticket. Imagine watching huge herds of pachyderms grazing and traveling the expansive Masai Mara. And holidays to see elephants wouldn’t be complete without heading to Amboseli National Park.
Amboseli provides habitat for 1,600 individuals and remains one of the only protected areas for elephants in East Africa. You’ll enjoy observing the park’s famed herds in the raw against a genuinely epic backdrop, snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro, located in neighboring Tanzania. Besides offering refuge for large mammals, the park also remains a stopover point for more than 400 bird species!
When it comes to places to visit elephants, Malaysia may not be top of mind. But don’t count it out. A visit to Borneo to check out the archipelago’s elephants comes with entrée into a fascinating natural mystery. Biologists remain split about whether the pygmy elephants are native to the island or descended from elephants brought to the area by the Sultan of Sulu in the 17th century.
History aside, you stand a good chance of glimpsing them in several locations in Sabah, including the central forest and the Kinabatangan flood plain. Now that we’ve covered the where, what’s one of the best ways to observe them? Consider a cruise along the Kinabatangan River or embark on a kid-friendly tour of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and the Danum Valley.
In 1931, just 16 elephants remained in South Africa’s Addo Elephant Park. But through extensive and rigorous conservation efforts, that number has swelled to an estimated 550 individuals. Located off the Garden Route, the park is an excellent spot to get an eyeful of these impressive behemoths while learning more about efforts to save them.
Other fantastic destinations in South Africa where you can see wild elephants include Kruger National Park. In Kruger, elephants abound, and the park’s also known for having some of the most developed game drives in the nation. You’ll also find private reserves scattered across KwaZulu Natal, a region renowned for its big game parks.
If you’ve traveled to India before, you’re well aware that captive elephants are a common sight, whether we’re talking about the occupants of city streets or temples. But it may surprise you to learn that wild Asian elephant populations continue to stalk the nation’s forests and grasslands. One of the best ways to see them is Corbett National Park, located in India’s far north. At least 350 individuals live in this park, and it’s also renowned for its wild tiger numbers.
However, if your travels take you south, you’re still in luck. Nagarhole National Park, which encompasses parts of Kodagu and Mysore, also provides habitat for wild elephant herds. The park covers roughly 300 square miles and shelters populations of Indian leopards, Bengal tigers, sloth bears, and striped hyenas, too. Besides elephants and predators, you’ll also find Sambar deer, chital or spotted deer, and muntjacs or barking deer.
One of Africa’s most popular safari destinations, Tanzania sprawls with classic game country. Among the most famous examples are Tarangire National Park, the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Selous Game Reserve. Stunning wildlife crisscrosses these protected areas, providing endless wildlife eye candy.
On a safari, follow well-worn migration trails for clues into recent elephant movements, all while knowing you’re contributing to a better future for pachyderms. The Tanzania safari industry remains one of the most critical tools in the battle against illegal poaching. Thousands of animals are lost every year. But the fees you pay for a safari go towards funding and training park rangers to reduce the destruction.
Have we piqued your interest about where to see elephants in the wild? If so, we can help you plan the perfect family vacation, whether it’s a monumental excursion to India, a remote safari in Africa, or an expedition to the verdant jungles of Thailand. Of course, we can help you check out other animals you’ve been longing to see in their natural habitat, too. Like penguins and polar bears.
Now’s the ideal time to start planning an unforgettable adventure with your kids to some of the world’s most intriguing locations. Our expert family adventure advisors will make travel planning a breeze.
Start here to plan your one-of-a-kind itinerary to see elephants in the wild.