The team at iExplore prides itself in finding once in a lifetime travel experiences. Living with Elephants in Botswana is a perfect example of one of those unique trips where you can spend a day with three amazing semi-habituated elephants. Two of the elephants, Jabu and Thembi, were orphaned in a Kruger National Park culling operation more than 20 years ago. Doug Groves adopted them back then and has been caring for them ever since. He adopted a third member of the herd, Morula, after she was orphaned in Zimabwe. He uses his organization, Living With Elephants, to "foster harmonious relationship between people and elephants."

"Playing Elephants" by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr Creative Commons

Your morning starts by meeting Doug and the elephants out in the wild. Leaving the confines of your 4x4, you walk into the bush to meet these amazing creatures. Fear not walking freely in the wild floodplains of the Okavango Delta, you have a trained and armed guide with you at all times. You will be introduced to Jabu, the proud bull who serves as alpha elephant of the herd, Thembi, the baby of the herd and the center of attention, and Morula, a mild-natured and sensitive elephant.

You will watch the elephants graze while Doug tells you all about these magnificent animals. During Doug's talk, the elephants gradually get comfortable with your presence as you gain comfort standing next to such massive creatures. You will then be invited closer. As you slowly approach these animals you will see details you have never noticed before about elephants such as the thick hairs protruding from their trunks, the long eyelashes and their massive tongues. As you get more comfortable you will be given a chance to feel their tusks, peer inside their mouths to see some of the largest teeth you will ever see and even feel the massive weight of their trunks.

"Addo Elephant National Park" by Brian Snelson via Flickr Creative Commons

Much of the day is spent walking with the elephants as they go about their morning routines. That may mean grazing, bathing in a mud wallow, or drinking from a nearby stream. In a short amount of time you will begin to see that each of the three elephants has their own distinct personality and place within the herd. Doug will continue to share his extensive wealth of knowledge on elephants and his life living with them.

At the end of the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch in the wild while your elephant companions enjoy an afternoon snack of their own. You are guaranteed to walk away from this experience with photos of a lifetime and with a new appreciation for these gentle giants.