A African Safari can not be complete without seeing a African Elephant, both Hluhluwe and Umfolozi Game Reserve have breeding herds and sightings quite often spectacular.
Elephant Facts and Information
Scientific name Order Proboscidea Family Elephantidae
There are 2 Elephant species found in the World. One in Asia and another in Africa there are also few different size of elephant in central Africa..
With a nose as long as its legs that functions as a siphon, trumpet and a feeding tool that can with finger like tip rip branches from a tree, or ripping grass to picking up a pea.
Elephants in Africa are mix feeders and therefore will feed on grass as well as browsing on most types of trees. The tusks which occur in both sexes are merely modified upper incisors that never stop growing.
Elephants have the Largest Teeth on Our planet larger than Whales. The losing of teeth contribute to or is the leading cause of loss of life of full-grown Elephants. As the final molar breaks it becomes ever difficult to chew food and this may cause starvation and malnutrition.
The average Tusk can reach 1.5 to 2.4 meters and may weigh in at 23 to 45 kg. The Trunk is actually in actual fact a limb and has an approximated 100 000 tendons and muscles. Incredibly Elephants like Humans are left or right handed as they will favor using one side from the other (Tusk).
Description: Body almost hairless gray or brownish , largest land Mammal
Weight: Male 5000 kg Female 3000 kg
Height: Male 7.5 m Female 6.8 m
Tusks curve forward
A Male of over 60 yrs may have a tusk weighing up to 60 kg,
The heart weighs 22 kg and circulates about 450 it's of blood cleaning is performed by a 77 kg Liver. To drink 9 it's of water at a single time it makes use of its 113 kg trunk.The tongue of a Elephant can weigh up to 12 kg.
They can eat up to 245 kg of food per day and this is digested by a 17 meter intestine, which can process up to 100 kg of dung per day.The skin of a Elephant can weigh between 480 to 700 kg, with a tail weighing in at 11 kg.
Elephants are led by a matriarch ( Grandmother ).
Most mating and births will occur in the rainy season; 1 calf born after a gestation of 22 months the longest in mammals. Most Elephants will consist of a herd of 9 to 11 Females and their calves and this forms the basic social unit.
A Male African Elephant will leave the herd once they reach puberty ( 12 yrs ) they will then spend the rest of their lives associating with other Males and wandering alone. Polygynous at around 25 yrs and start competing reproductive. The Elephant eyes which are very small can however see very far further than a few hundred feet. Elephants are excellent swimmers.
The Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve previously was regarded as two separate parks back in the late 1800s. Today its one park with a corridor road in-between the two. In Winter months the Elephants are predominantly found in the Hluhluwe Reserve and as Summer approaches they will migrate down South towards the Umfolozi Reserve.
Large breeding herds are sighted regularly on the banks of the Black Umfolozi River as well as watering holes. Both the Hluhluwe and the Umfolozi offers visitors vantage points of the watering holes. Ezemvelo Kzn Wildlife have developed numerous hides in both sides of the park and they remain a good source of viewing. The Umfolozi section in Summer hot spots are the areas of the Black Umfolozi River, Sontuli Loop and Mphafa hide.
Coming across a African Elephant can be terrifying however if not provoked or cornered will leave you alone. It is imperative that you remain quiet and do not shuffle around in the vehicle.
Take note if the Elephant is in Musk as this mostly is when a Elephant is aggressive however once again remain calm and keep your distance.