In this article, we take a closer look at African elephants - often spotted at The Outpost LodgePel's PostTshwene Lodge and Ekuthuleni Lodge. They are magnificent, fascinating animals characterised by their highly dexterous trunk, long, curved tusks, and massive ears.

ELEPHANTS ARE HUNGRY HERBIVORES

Elephants are herbivorous and eat an array of plant matter such as grasses, fruit, bark, shrubs, trees and flowers. After the rain, they will even dig for roots in the soft earth. These hungry animals can eat up to 150kg of food in a day! They will roam great distances in an effort to source the large quantity of food they need to sustain their massive bodies.

THEY CARRY THEIR YOUNG FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS

Elephants have a much longer pregnancy than any other land animal - almost 22 months! Female elephants give birth to a single calf every 2-4 years and keep mating until they are about 50 years of age. A baby elephant is called a calf and weighs in at over 100kgs and about 3ft tall at birth. They can't see very well at first, but they can recognise their mothers by touch, scent and sound.

THEIR TRUNKS ARE THEIR MOST IMPORTANT LIMB

An elephant's trunk is actually a long nose and their most important limb. It is used for smelling, breathing, trumpeting, drinking, and also for grabbing things - especially a potential meal. Their trunk alone contains about 100,000 different muscles. It is dexterous enough to pick up a blade of grass and strong enough to rip branches off trees. Elephant calves don’t really know what to do with their trunks at first. They’ll swing them to and fro, occasionally trip on them and even suck them as a baby would suck their thumb.

ELEPHANTS LOVE A MUD BATH (AND FOR GOOD REASON)

Elephants like to play in the dirt, and for good reason. Though their hide may look tough, elephants actually have sensitive skin and can easily get sunburnt.  To counteract the damaging rays of the sun, elephants throw sand or mud on themselves as a layer of protection. The dusty layer also protects them from insect bites and moisture loss.

THEIR TUSKS ARE TECHNICALLY TEETH

An elephant’s tusks are in actual fact very large upper incisor teeth that are embedded deep into their heads - a third of the tusk is hidden from view. Tusks are used to dig for food and water, debark trees, clear paths, as a courtship aid and as a weapon when defending themselves.

Feeling inspired to book a safari getaway? Check out our four bush escapes and book your stay now - Ekuthuleni Lodge, Tshwene Lodge, The Outpost Lodge and Pel's Post.