Walking with elephants in the Okavango:

The Living with Elephants Foundation, operated by Doug and Sandi Groves, allows guests at Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp and Sanctuary Baines’ Camp the amazing opportunity to partake in an extraordinary immersive nature adventure – a relaxed walk in the Okavango Delta with three semi-habituated elephants.

The bull and baby of the herd, Jabu and Thembi respectively, were orphaned in a Kruger National Park (South Africa) culling operation. Doug adopted them as emotionally distressed and insecure two-year-old calves in October of 1988. Since then, Doug and Sandi have devoted themselves to the well-being and personal development of these elephants who have grown into wonderfully well-adjusted 26-year-olds, with an accomplished history as wildlife ambassadors. Morula was orphaned by a Zimbabwean culling programme.

Interacting with Jabu, Thembi and Morula allows for a profound understanding of elephants. Guests get to observe the elephants grazing, swimming and taking mud baths. They will also enjoy the elephants’ company whilst delighting in a delicious picnic lunch.

Every year, Living with Elephants runs an outreach project allowing children from neighbouring villages the chance to spend two days learning about, and interacting with Jabu, Thembi and Morula. Sanctuary Retreats is proud to sponsor Living with Elephants’ efforts and conservation of wildlife.

Living with Elephants also works to secure the long term future of its elephant ambassadors. Elephants can live for 70 years so when Doug and Sandi adopted Jabu, Thembi and Morula, they knew they were making a life-long promise to the elephants – and that the trio would probably outlive the Groves by many years. Doug and Sandi endeavour to give Jabu, Thembi and Morula a life that is as close to the normal lives of elephants as possible, yet one that is protected from the huge pressures, uncertainties and trials with which wild elephants are met. The Groves swore never to compromise the quality of life and safety their elephants require. They are delighted that their trio live a life so close to that of wild elephants that they even share grazing grounds.

Sanctuary-Retreats-logoBy Sanctuary Retreats

To include this experience in your Botswana safari holiday

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Only available when staying at Stanley’s or Baines Camp in the Okavango Delta

You could also consider meeting the Elephants of Abu, based at Abu Camp.


The camps involved are open all year, but the Elephants are on holiday from the 15 January to 15 February each year.

Where to stay for your elephant experience:

Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp and Sanctuary Baines’ Camp