fb

Innovative date idea: Elephant interaction

By: Natasha Archary

 

 

Anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me will understand how much I adore elephants. They are truly magnificent creatures and I am in awe of their stature, sense of calm and their ability to interact with humans.

 

It was during our Innovative Zipline  Date that we noticed a sign to the Elephant Sanctuary and I couldn’t control my enthusiasm at visiting the sanctuary on one of our future dates. Willing to indulge me, my professional plus one was relieved. It would be one of our more tame dates.

 

I researched the sanctuary before booking this date and was pleased to see that they are kid friendly. I knew instantly that I wanted my son along for this experience, besides whoever said innovative dates had to only happen without the kids in tow?

 

We all know that dating can be daunting, whatever happened to traditional dating? Now multiply that by about a thousand when you’re trying to get your dating game on as a single parent. The scheduling – finding availability with friends and family to babysit, arranging said available date with your partner, picking a time that suits everyone – jeez the admin! So, I was really happy that this date could come together without all that fuss.

 

(By then I will have written a piece about when to introduce your partner to your child: Single parent dating series – Memo to myself) Link here

 

There’s also a monkey (and bushbabies) sanctuary at the venue, perfect for the little ones with walkways and the opportunity to see them in as natural an environment as possible. Yup, there are no cages and they happily hop around from treetop to walkway, curious to see who’s come to visit them. Children are given the introduction to wildlife conservation we need if we are to protect the beauty of nature. Something that is really important for me as a parent, is giving my child the foundation that all living beings deserve respect.

 

There are two packages to choose from on the Elephant Sanctuary website: Either the elephant interaction or the combo, which includes the monkey sanctuary tour as well. The elephant interaction could take up to two hours so we decide on just that – because anything longer could lead to unwanted toddler tantrums.

 

We’ve been to Haarties so many times this year, with most of our innovative dates taking place in the area. (I wonder if Haarties residents have a strong love life?) But despite that, I could never tire of the views on the drive there and back. Like something off the back of a postcard, it’s such a relaxing hour-long drive to and from Johannesburg.

 

We arrive at the sanctuary a few minutes before our tour is to begin and, after a quick check-in, we’re introduced to our expert guide. The elephant interaction tour is a hands-on experience designed to give you a more intimate understanding of how they are handled, cared for, engage and integrate in their surroundings. The sanctuary currently has five rescued elephants in their care. The animals are handled without any restrains, harnesses or canes. A far cry from their previous encounters.

 

All the elephants were rescued from horrible working conditions in circuses around the world. One of the things that attracted me to the sanctuary was the fact that while elephant rides are offered, they are done so minus the spine-crushing saddles that many clueless handlers insist on. I have always been against the very touristy rides because I could never agree to the inhumane torture elephants have to endure during the training stages and thereafter. So, the sanctuary truly changed that for me.

We meet the first two gorgeous creatures who are in a huge enclosure. The fences are low, giving visitors easy access to feed them. The female is around eighteen years and the male sixteen. We will now be given the opportunity to feed them and because there is a large group, we will all have to take it in turns, two at a time (one person per elephant). The kids go first, accompanied by a parent and we’re told to offer the elephant the compressed pellets by dropping them in their trunks. It’s incredible to see the elephants lower their trunks to the food being offered.

 

Their trunks are wet and sandy.

 

“Mommy, their trunks are snotty.”

 

Honesty that only a three-year-old can give you. Elephants use their trunks to slurp up water and food which is then funnelled into their mouths. Naturally, the trunks are muddy, wet and if this makes you squeamish it may not be a good date idea for you. Personally, I didn’t have any issues with this. It’s now my turn, I grab as much of the pellets that my two hands can gather and offer it to the patiently waiting trunk of the female elephant. It’s vacuumed into the trunk and just as quickly up it goes into her mouth. Amazing.

Once all the food is gone, we’re moving further into the sanctuary to go meet the next two majestic elephants. The two we get a chance to touch and walk with. They’re older than the first two and have had more experience engaging with humans. We’re allowed to touch them at strategic parts of their bodies, with their handlers by our side. Unaware that their hide is covered with prickly hair, I was not prepared for how hard the hair would be. We learned that their eyesight is not strong, they rely on their hearing and keen sense of smell to maneuver in their surroundings.

 

The interaction allows for memorable picture opportunities and a “kiss”. Obviously, I didn’t turn one down and with my now fearful son in my arms, I prepared for the wet snort of the trunk on my cheek. It came with a force strong enough to knock me off balance a little but it was so worth it. Something I will treasure all my life.

 

 

After the entire group was done with the interaction, we made our way into an open area where we would be walking with the elephants. Accompanied by the guides, we walk over to the field and grab hold of their trunk by enclosing a full fist around the opening. Instinctively, the elephants know this means they should start walking forward with us. We do so at a slow pace, all the while my heart happy that I was lucky enough to experience this. (Yes I carried my son during much of the interaction because after the “snotty trunk” discovery, he decided he was scared. Every parent knows that when they communicate how they feel you don’t force them into anything, you just reassure and show them that there’s nothing to be afraid of.) 

By now, my tired toddler is ready to call it a day. He’s had enough excitement to last him a lifetime. We head back to the entrance of the sanctuary, for a quick lunch at the kiddies area. How my son still has the energy is beyond me, but he is having the time of his life on the swings and bounding about on the grass. It was a fun day out, a family friendly date idea. One I hope you consider when next you decide a roadtrip is in order.

 

I would like to commend the sanctuary for their conservation efforts, for taking such incredible care for all the animals in their care and for giving us a truly memorable day. I am in awe of the work you put in and the lengths you go to, to educate the public.

 

We will be returning to visit the monkey sanctuary next. I can’t wait.

    Don’t miss out on the latest local news, interviews and competitions.

    Don’t miss out on the latest local news, interviews and competitions.

    More Articles
    Receive the latest news

    Subscribe To Our Newsletter

    THE KAYA 959 APP NOW AVAILABLE

    DOWNLOAD YOURS NOW

    Copyright Notice

    1. COPYRIGHT

    1.1 The contents of this Website, including but not limited to its compilation and arrangement, is the exclusive property of Kaya 959, alternatively the suppliers of content to Kaya 959, and accordingly remain protected by South African and International Copyright and Trademark laws.

    1.2 Any person accessing this Website, may not, save for downloading one copy for their personal computers and solely for their private and non-commercial use :

    1.2.1 Copy, disseminate, distribute, advertise, publish, adapt, modify or in any way reproduce the contents of this website for commercial purposes, unless this notice and any disclaimer attached thereto is published in its entirety, or unless the permission of Kaya 959 is obtained in writing.

    Privacy Policy

    THIS PRIVACY STATEMENT FORMS PART OF KAYA 959’S TERMS OF USE POLICY. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH ANY TERM OF THIS PRIVACY STATEMENT, YOU MUST CEASE YOUR ACCESS OF THIS WEBSITE IMMEDIATELY. 

    POPIA ActTo promote the protection of personal information processed by public and private bodies; to introduce certain conditions so as to establish minimum requirements for the processing of personal information; to provide for the establishment of an Information Regulator to exercise certain powers and to perform certain duties and functions in terms of this Act and the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000; to provide for the issuing of codes of conduct; to provide for the rights of persons regarding unsolicited electronic communications and automated decision making; to regulate the flow of personal information across the borders of the Republic; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

    RECOGNISING THAT—

    • section 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, provides that everyone has the right to privacy;
    • the right to privacy includes a right to protection against the unlawful collection, retention, dissemination and use of personal information;
    • the State must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights;

    AND BEARING IN MIND THAT—

    • consonant with the constitutional values of democracy and openness, the need for economic and social progress, within the framework of the information society, requires the removal of unnecessary impediments to the free flow of information, including personal information;

    AND IN ORDER TO—

    • regulate, in harmony with international standards, the processing of personal information by public and private bodies in a manner that gives effect to the right to privacy subject to justifiable limitations that are aimed at protecting other rights and important interests,
    1. Definitions and Interpretation

    1.1.“Personal Information” means information relating to an identifiable, living, natural person and where it is applicable, identifiable, existing juristic person, including all information as defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013. 

    1.2  Parliament assented to POPIA on 19 November 2013. The commencement date of section 1Part A of Chapter 5section 112 and section 113 was 11 April 2014. The commencement date of the other sections was 1 July 2020 (with the exception of section 110 and 114(4). The President of South Africa has proclaimed the POPI commencement date to be 1 July 2020.

     
    1.3. “Processing” means the creation, generation, communication, storage, destruction of personal information as more fully defined in the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013.  

    1.4. “You” or the “user” means any person who accesses and browses this website for any purpose. 

    1.4. “Website” means the website of the KAYA 959 at URL www.kaya959.co.za or such other URL as KAYA 959 may choose from time to time.   

    1. Status and Amendments

    2.1. KAYA 959 respects your privacy. This privacy policy statement sets out KAYA 959’s information gathering and dissemination practices in respect of the Website. 

    2.2. This Privacy Policy governs the processing of personal information provided to KAYA 959 through your use of the Website. 

    2.3. Please note that, due to legal and other developments, KAYA 959 may amend these terms and conditions from time to time.  

    1. Processing of Personal Information

    3.1. By providing your personal information to KAYA 959 you acknowledge that it has been collected directly from you and consent to its processing by KAYA 959. 

    3.2. Where you submit Personal Information (such as name, address, telephone number and email address) via the website (e.g. through completing any online form) the following principles are observed in the processing of that information: 

    3.2.1. KAYA 959 will only collect personal information for a purpose consistent with the purpose for which it is required. The specific purpose for which information is 
    collected will be apparent from the context in which it is requested. 

    3.2.2. KAYA 959 will only process personal information in a manner that is adequate, relevant and not excessive in the context of the purpose for which it is processed. 

    3.2.3. Personal information will only be processed for a purpose compatible with that for which it was collected, unless you have agreed to an alternative purpose in writing or KAYA 959 is permitted in terms of national legislation of general application dealing primarily with the protection of personal information. 

    3.2.4. KAYA 959 will keep records of all personal Information collected and the specific purpose for which it was collected for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

    3.2.5. KAYA 959 will not disclose any personal information relating to you to any third party unless your prior written agreement is obtained or KAYA 959 is required to do so by law. 

    3.2.6. If personal information is released with your consent KAYA 959 will retain a record of the information released, the third party to which it was released, the reason for the release and the date of release, for a period of 1 (one) year from the date on which it was last used. 

    3.2.7. KAYA 959 will destroy or delete any personal information that is no longer needed by KAYA 959 for the purpose it was initially collected, or subsequently processed. 

    3.3. Note that, as permitted by the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002, KAYA 959 may use personal information collected to compile profiles for statistical purposes. No information contained in the profiles or statistics will be able to be linked to any specific user.    

    1. Collection of anonymous data

    4.1. KAYA 959 may use standard technology to collect information about the use of this website. This technology is not able to identify individual users but simply allows KAYA 959 to collect statistics. 

    4.2. KAYA 959 may utilise temporary or session cookies to keep track of users’ browsing habits. A cookie is a small file that is placed on your hard drive in order to keep a record of your interaction with this website and facilitate user convenience. 

    4.2.1. Cookies by themselves will not be used to identify users personally but may be used to compile identified statistics relating to use of services offered or to provide KAYA 959 with feedback on the performance of this website. 

    4.2.2. The following classes of information may be collected in respect of users who have enabled cookies: 

    4.2.2.1. The browser software used; 

    4.2.2.2. IP address; 

    4.2.2.3. Date and time of activities while visiting the website; 

    4.2.2.4. URLs of internal pages visited; and 

    4.2.2.5. referrers. 

    4.3. If you do not wish cookies to be employed to customize your interaction with this website it is possible to alter the manner in which your browser handles cookies. Please note that, if this is done, certain services on this website may not be available. 

    1. Security

    5.1. KAYA 959 takes reasonable measures to ensure the security and integrity of information submitted to or collected by this website, but cannot under any circumstances be held liable for any loss or other damage sustained by you as a result of unlawful access to or dissemination of any personal information by a third party. 

    1. Links to other websites

    6.1. KAYA 959 has no control over and accepts no responsibility for the privacy practices of any third party websites to which hyperlinks may have been provided and KAYA 959 strongly recommends that you review the privacy policy of any website you visit before using it further. 

    1. Queries

    7.1. If you have any queries about this privacy policy please contact us by emailing [email protected] 

    Competition Terms and Conditions

    • The competitions are open to all persons over the age of 18 years; except directors, partners, employees, agents, service providers, and consultants of Kaya 959, the sponsor and all its subsidiaries and its holding company, if any, as well as all spouses, life partners, parents, children, siblings, business partners and associates of such persons.

    • The outcome of the competition is subject to the decision of the judge/presenter, whose decision is final and no negotiation will be entered into thereafter. Neither Kaya 959, sponsors nor their agents will be held responsible or answerable to any dispute arising from the competition or prize awards.

    • Participants/listeners enter or take part in competitions at their own risk and Kaya 959 bears no responsibility for any loss, damage or harm suffered as a result of participation in any of Kaya 959 competition.

    • One listener is entitled to winning one prize in a period of 3 months. Kaya 959 reserves the right not to award a prize if the listener has won a prize prior during the 3 month window period. This also applies to listeners who provide family or friend’s contact details.

    • Kaya 959 reserves the right to redistribute all unclaimed prizes if not claimed after 3 months after being given away On Air or on the website.

    • Prizes are not transferable and may not be exchanged for cash.

    • Finalists will forfeit their participation in the competition if they fail to attend the draws.

    • The competition will run during the period advertised on Kaya 959; entries received outside of the competition period will not be considered for the competition draw.

    • Kaya 959 and their sponsors reserve the right to cancel, modify or amend the competition at any time if deemed necessary in their opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of their control.

    • By entering the competition, entrants agree to accept these rules and to be bound by them.