My elephant ride

I went to Zambia a few years ago to visit my family.  I had a great time with them, but decided to go to Livingstone to visit the majestic and mighty Victoria Falls.  While in Livingstone, I decided to go for an elephant ride offered about 3 kilometers from the Falls.  The whole adventure starts with a light breakfast – I guess one needs energy for an elephant ride.  The skies were blue and the weather quite warm, even though this was at the height of the Zambian cold season.

The elephants were quite well behaved and were standing in line ready for the rides.  I knew that elephants are huge animals, but seeing them up close was something else, and I must say they scared me.

Elephant line-up

Elephant line-up

A guide then gives some safety instructions.  He also informed us that the matriarch names Apongozi (meaning Mother-in-Law) was a self-willed lady and so only a courageous and strong person should ride her.  One man volunteered and I thought he was very brave.  I would not have done such a thing!  True to the guide’s warning Apongozi was something else – she  frequently deviated from the path she was supposed to take.  The other elephants would follow her lead and also start doing what she was doing, mainly just feeding.  I thought Apongozi made the adventure more interesting as the guide would engage into a conversation with her to try and coax her to get on the ‘straight and narrow’.

Safety instructions being given

Safety instructions being given

We had to get on a high stand just to mount the elephants.  Each person rode with a guide for safety reasons and I suspect to calm nervous customers like myself.

Zambian Lady preparing for landing

Zambian Lady preparing for landing

Do you see how tightly I was holding onto the guide?  I would not have let him go for a million dollars!

Riders feed the elephants after the ride.  It was, again, scary for me.  At the end the elephants wave bye, for lack of a better term.

Elephants waving goodbye

Elephants waving goodbye


All in all, I really had a great time.  Would I do it again?  No, one time is enough to last me a life time.



19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Girl Gone Expat
    Dec 12, 2014 @ 04:54:33

    What an adventure! I would love to try the same one day, but would definitely also prefer to have a guide with me on the elephant:) Elephants are really majestic animals! Thanks for sharing!


  2. jesusknowsmyname
    Dec 11, 2014 @ 16:40:42

    I find it interesting that the guide spoke to the ‘wayward’ elephant and would try to coax her into behaving! There is so much we don’t know about animals and their intelligence. I find elephants so interesting. I could tell you were holding on tightly!


  3. bentehaarstad
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 18:16:52

    I hope you had a good ride. Majestic animals.


  4. Gallivanta
    Dec 10, 2014 @ 01:58:30

    I am happy to watch elephants. You were brave to ride one.


  5. livelytwist
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:17:20

    You are brave. Like you, if I dared, I probably would have held onto the guide for dear life 🙂
    Did you enjoy the majestic and mighty Victoria Falls?


    • Zambian Lady
      Dec 09, 2014 @ 11:42:19

      I would not say that I really enjoyed the Victoria Falls because I have seen them countless times before and the wonder wore off long ago. I however, like going there because to me, it is like I have really arrived home.

      Thanks for visiting.


  6. Minuscule Moments
    Dec 09, 2014 @ 03:06:58

    What an amazing animal and an experience to treasure for a life time. Thank you for sharing your adventure. Living in Australia I am in awe of the Elephants we see in captivity but often wonder how majestic it would be to see them in their natural environment. Kath.


  7. Petrish @ Debt Free Martini
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 23:00:51

    This looks like it was so much fun. I know my daughter would love this. Thank you for giving us that play by play. It was like I was there.


  8. restlessjo
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 08:40:19

    Only having seen them at the zoo, I find the thought of elephants ‘in the wild’ a little unsettling too 🙂 A whole different perspective on life!


  9. gfchopstix
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 04:19:40

    Oh, and I like the look of your new theme 🙂


  10. gfchopstix
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 04:19:17

    What an amazing experience! I love the majestic African elephants. I do hope that they are well taken care of.


  11. earthriderjudyberman
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 01:10:19

    You’re braver than I am, Zambianlady. Although, I certainly would have given it a try. I would not have chosen Apongozi either.

    When I was a teenager, I lived in the country and I would visit my friends’ homes to ride their horses – bareback. They didn’t use saddles. The horse could very easily dump you if it wanted to. Fortunately, for me, it never did. 😉


    • zambianlady
      Dec 08, 2014 @ 18:04:58

      I am not as courageous as I would like to think. Even though I enjoyed the ride, I was shaking throughout. 🙂

      I have ridden a horse only a few times, but I had a saddle. My inner legs always ached afterwards, so I can imagine how bareback riding was like.


      • earthriderjudyberman
        Dec 08, 2014 @ 23:32:13

        When we were in Costa Rica, my husband rode a horse for the first time. He had a huge bruise on his chest from holding the reins so close. I believe that’s how he got the bruise. So, yeah, I hear you. 😉

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