South African Hotels

Elephant Back Riding at The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort

The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort in Gauteng, South Africa, offers exciting Elephant Interaction Programs and Elephant Back Safaris.

Elephant Back Riding at The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Overview

The Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort is home to four Elephants called Mosadi, Themba, Khumba and Mvuso.  Each elephant has its personality, likes and dislikes, and your guide will facilitate you getting to know them better. During your visit, you will experience a full elephant program, and if you are at all able to, we highly recommend that you maximise your experience by riding the elephants as this will enhance your understanding of how magnificent these animals are, and how graceful their movement is. The sanctuary has African elephants and offers an interactive elephant program and elephant back riding and overnight accommodation.

1) Day programs are offered daily, seven days a week, at 08h00; 10h00 and 14h00

a) Elephant Interaction: Guests are guided in small groups on foot through The Elephant Sanctuary. Guides will provide in-depth information and insight into African elephants. You will be introduced to our elephants in the forest area, and here you will be able to touch and interact with the elephants. You will see the special relationship that the elephant handlers share with their elephants and become a part of it. Walk trunk-in-hand with the elephants.  See the stables where the elephants sleep at night. Guests learn about elephant anatomy and can feed them. On some hot or rainy days, you may see the elephants swimming. Enjoy a drink from the cash bar on the main deck before departure. Remember to wear flat walking shoes, sun hats and bring your camera.

  • Only the 08h00 program includes brushing the elephants down
  • Elephant Back Riding is an optional extra
  • Lunch is optional extra

8h00 Program:

  • Arrival Time: Gate opens at 07h50 Program will start at 08h00
  • Departure Time: 09h45

10h00 Program:

  • Arrival Time: Gate opens at 09h45 Program starts at 10h00
  • Departure Time: 12h30 if not having lunch; 13h30 if staying for lunch

14h00 Program:

  • Arrival Time: Gate opens at 13h45 Program starts at 14h00
  • Departure Time: 16H45
  • Lunch is on offer to guests participating in the Elephant Programs only.
  • Lunch is usually buffet-style

b) Elephant Back Riding (Add-on to Elephant program): Riding is an opportunity to experience elephants from a different perspective and is conducted in a boma. It is not a safari experience. (Only for the fit and adventurous). Wear jeans or long pants. It is an optional extra, and the cost is “added-on” to the overnight experience and any of the elephant programs. 

  • Children must be at least eight years old

2) Overnight Lodge Experience

  • Inclusive of boma dinner, bed, breakfast and a day program
  • Elephant Back Riding is an optional extra
  • (8 - 14 years). Children must be eight years+
  • Check-in time is 16h00
  • Check out is 10h00 on day of departure
  • Main Lodge: Sleep next to elephants (Khumba Suite / Thandi & Jabu Suites / Family Suite)
  • Bush Lodge: 4-Star lodge in bush setting

4) Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary: Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary is right next door to The Elephant Sanctuary and offers a guided experience with free-living monkeys. Walk through natural indigenous forests on elevated wooden walkways and experience a variety of exotic monkeys in an exquisite environment. No pre-booking required for Bushbabies. Monkey Sanctuary.


From Johannesburg: Take the Brits R512 road (past Lanseria Airport) to Hartbeespoort Dam. Cross dam over the open bridge and turn right at T-Junction, on to four-way stop at the Craft Market (garage on the right-hand side and one opposite as well). Turn left and travel 2.5 km to The Elephant Sanctuary. We are on the left-hand side of the road.

From Pretoria: Follow the route to Hartbeespoort Dam. Travel through the tunnel. At the four-way stop at the Craft Market, go straight over, continue 2.6 km to The Elephant Sanctuary. We are on the left-hand side of the road.

General Terms and Conditions

1) Weather: Due to the outdoor nature of the elephant experience, the Elephant Sanctuary cannot be held responsible for the severe weather. We do adapt our programs and conduct them irrespective. Elephants love the rain, and it is our experience that our guests enjoy our program regardless of the weather.  However, we have designed our facilities to incorporate a large, thatch bar and lounge area. This provides protection from the midday sun and the occasional rain shower and is positioned in the central operational area.

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