We recently visited the Bayete Elephant Interaction just a 30 minute drive from our accommodation Hluhluwe River Lodge. Animal interactions are always a sensitive issue so we are always very careful to recommend anything that is not up to standard as far as animal exploitation is concerned. There is a place for ‘animal petting’ experiences and sometimes it is difficult to draw the line between exploitation for financial gain and a fair value educational experience. We were very pleased with the manner in which the team at Bayete presented this interaction.
The 3 elephants that are used for the interaction are from a culled herd and there is a heart wrenching story that will be shared with you when you visit. Julian and Max the elephant handlers and hosts presented an informative interpretation on Elephant behaviour, physiology and challenges pertaining to Elephants in Southern Africa. The talk was about 20 minutes and suitable for children of 8 and older. Once the talk ended there was an opportunity for questions and discussion and it was encouraging to see young children asking questions on a variety of issues.
The highlight of this experience has to be the opportunity to get up close and personal with these majestic giants. Carefully managed in groups of 3 people visitors are given the opportunity to feed both via the tip of the trunk and then by actually putting food onto the Elephants tongue. The interactions are done at 11.30 daily and there is a local watering hole nearby called the ‘Baobab’or ‘Ghost Mountain Inn’ where you can find a swimming pool, light meals and a cold beer.