The Best Places to Photograph Elephants in Africa: Where Would You Go?

Andrew Beck Andrew Leave a Comment

Elephants are a keystone species in terms of Africa’s ecosystems and, without these majestic mega-herbivores, we may not enjoy the diversity of mammals that we currently have on the continent. Apart from their ecological importance, they are also a highly sought after photographic subject!

Elephants of Amboseli Wild Eye Andrew Beck

Elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya

I’ll be putting together a post of images form some of the best destinations in Africa where one can photograph these gentle giants and wanted to get everyones input before choosing the destinations that I will feature – although I am sure we will be in agreement on  many of the top destinations to photograph elephants.

My question to you:

Where, in your opinion, is the best place to photograph elephants in Africa?

Andrew Beck

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  1. Dee Roeofsz

    Elephants are undoubtedly one of my favourite subjects & I can spend hours watching & photographing them.

    The stand out places I have been are Addo & Chobe – the “Bucket List” places would be Mana Pools & Amboseli

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      1. Dee Roeofsz

        Will do Andrew – must say that the other great destination for elephants is Kruger, especially up North where we have always been very fortunate to see huge herds & huge bulls, around Shingwedzi is particularly good!

        1. Dee Roelofsz

          Hi Andrew – I thought rather than posting on the FB page you may prefer to look at my Tembe Elephants album. We last visited in February so during the rainy season & the bush was very thick so we saw may individuals but not much of the herds together other than one day down in the swamp area. If you watch the webcam now you will see them gathering daily at the pan as there has not yet been much rain.

          Album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.645102405583977.1073741854.631821906912027&type=3

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  2. David Rosenzweig

    Haven’t been to Mana, but the Lower Zambezi is fantastic for elephants!! They often come right through camp and can be photographed while either on foot, in a jeep, or in a boat. Best part is, you rarely ever see another car!!

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  3. Jon Bryant

    Granted I’ve not yet been to Kenya or Botswana….but I have to say that Madikwe was unbelievable for Elephants. I’ve see iconic images of African Elephants from other photographers and prior to visiting Madikwe images like that were just a pipe dream for me. When I actually got to Madikwe I had more incredible and quality Elephant sightings than anything else and as a result have some stunning images of ellies from there. Seeing 60-80 ellies drinking from one watering hole was mind blowing, not just the spectacle, but the sounds of drinking elephants is something special. From everything I a seeing and reading though, if you are SA based then I understand why Mana Pools is a big draw.

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      Andrew Beck

      HI Jon

      Madikwe really does provide some great sightings – especially if you’re using the underground hide as we do at The Bush house.

      Tlou Dam in winter is a hive of activity for many animals, not just elephants.

      You mention that Mana is a draw card if one is SA based? I’m not sure i get what you mean by this though?

      1. Jon Bryant

        Hi Andrew,
        Regarding my SA based comment. Madikwe is on your doorstep, and whilst I believe it is incredible for Elephant sightings, I can imagine SA based shooters wanting to expand their portfolio and searching for unique elephant images could be drawn to Mana Pools. You have the walking experience, the unique fauna, and the fact the elephants are reaching up on their hind legs (behaviour influenced by environment). It’s a relatively short hop for you guys for potentially some amazingly (unique) experiences. Not saying Madikwe isn’t unique, just that the Elephant behaviour is probably different in Mana due to the nature of the environment – hope that makes sense? It was meant to be a positive comment (not a negative one!). It’s just an observation from a far, and for sure one day I hope to visit Mana Pools.

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          Andrew Beck

          Hi Jon

          Thanks for the explanation, I misinterpreted your comment and thought that you were suggesting that Mana’s allure was reserved for those based in SA. I’m on the same page as you now and agree that a small part of what makes Mana so unique is the elephant behaviour and that that is a drawcard for many a photographer and traveller alike.

          Hopefully we can still meet up when you’re out in Nov – if you have been able to finalise your plans 😉

          All the best!

  4. Conrad Walker

    One of my personal favourites is Savuti in the southern part of the Chobe National Park. The wide vistas of the Savuti marsh which hosts its own Zebra migration, and the elephant action around the waterholes allows for close up and personal elephant encounters. That said, I have had great elephant encounters in the Ohavango Delta, in Pilanessberg, in Addo and of course in Kruger.

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