Elephant Rides

Overall rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2+ adventure travel stars

Elephant rides in India

Riding an elephant in India

First of all, don’t let the low rating fool you. All it really means is that elephant rides are easy and safe, so just about anyone can enjoy them. This is truly one of the authentic classic adventure experiences going back thousands of years.

Imagine elephant riding through the African bush high above the ground where you can see for miles across the golden plains. You feel a rush of air as the ears of the gigantic beast flap back and forth and then slap against its shoulders.

Off to one side you see zebras strolling along, and on the other side giraffes stretch their necks and nibble from the trees.

As your transportation lumbers past a watering hole you see baby cheetahs frolicking around their annoyed mother as she lowers her head to get a drink, and you feel like you’re now in a Rudyard Kipling story that has suddenly come to life.

Elephant riding tours are great family fun for kids of all ages. And they provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about, and interact with, one of the most extraordinary animals to walk the face of the earth.

Risk Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2 adventure travel stars

Clearly, this isn’t one of the high-adrenaline adventure travel experiences like white water rafting or paragliding. There really isn’t much to worry about where risk is concerned. Just pay attention to your guide, follow directions and you’ll be fine.

Think of elephant riding more as a sightseeing tour from a high vantage point where you may see some unusual and exotic landscapes and wildlife.

One risk that you don’t want to deal with is falling from the elephant. That could easily be an eight to ten foot drop, so it could make for a painful landing.

Many of the elephant rides you’ll run across will have pretty secure seats, but if you’re going to be riding bareback you need to pay closer attention to the animal.

And do be aware of your proximity to the elephant when on the ground. They’re so big that if they accidentally bump into you they could knock you to the ground. And you don’t want them stepping on your foot either.

Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2 adventure travel stars

If you’re going to be riding an elephant bareback you’re going to need to learn how to mount and dismount. You’re also going to need to learn the commands and prodding to get the pachyderm to go, stop and turn. There’s not much more to it than that because chances are good that there will be a handler right there with you.

If you’re going to be sitting on one of those “saddles” that looks more like a bench seat then all you’ve got to do is enjoy the view. You really don’t need anything in the way of strength or physicality. However, should you choose to ride bareback you may need a little agility and a good sense of balance.

Fun Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Elephant rides may be the ultimate safari experience as you explore the countryside on the back of a truly remarkable creature. You’ll be amazed at the size of these animals and enchanted by their gentle nature.

You may be able to go elephant riding at some local zoo, but I’m not going to count that. A couple of laps around the monkey enclosure for $5 isn’t really an elephant ride in my mind

For the authentic experience to get a four-star fun factor you need to go on a genuine elephant safari, and following are some great places to do it. So, you may need to turn this into an overseas adventure travel excursion.

11 popular places for elephant rides
  • Botswana
  • Cambodia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Nepal
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
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