11 Best Places to See Elephants in Africa

11 Best Places to See Elephants in Africa

Where are the best places to see African elephants in the wild? The highest densities of this subspecies of African elephants are found in the wildlife areas of eastern and southern Africa. The top game parks for seeing savannah elephants are found in Botswana, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa.

  1. Chobe National Park & Delta - Botswana (Southern Africa)
  2. Hwange National Park - Zimbabwe (Southern Africa)
  3. Kruger National Park - South Africa (Southern Africa)
  4. Tsavo East & West National Park - Kenya (East Africa)
  5. South Luangwa National Park - Zambia (Southern Africa)
  6. Amboseli National Park - Kenya (East Africa)
  7. Northern Safari Circuit - Tanzania (East Africa)
  8. Samburu National Park - Kenya (East Africa)
  9. Etosha National Park - Namibia (Southern Africa)
  10. Addo Elephant National Park - South Africa (Southern Africa)
  11. Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania (East Africa)

Or, skip to the elephant range map of Africa for a visual representation of African elephant distribution in the wild.

1. Northern Botswana - Chobe National Park & Delta

Northern Botswana is home to the largest continuous population of savannah elephants in Africa, with the population estimated at around 150 000 elephants! The elephants in northern Botswana are free to roam over an area of about 80,000km².

Chobe Park - Botswana

Tim CopelandChobe elephants - Tim Copeland

  • home to one of the largest concentrations of elephants in Africa
  • estimated at around 70 000 elephants in the 11,700 km² of Chobe Park
  • also said to host the largest elephants in terms of body size
  • elephants are relatively used to encountering tourists

Browse our affordable Chobe Safaris online.

Okavango Delta - Botswana

Cal Bailey (Mountain Leon)Delta elephant at camp - Cal Bailey (Mountain Leon)

  • the number of elephant sightings is increasing, as more elephants migrate from Chobe, Savuti and Linyanti into Moremi and other parts of the Okavango Delta.

In the dry season, elephants congregate at the permanent water sources - Chobe and Lynanti/Kwando Rivers, and the Okavango Delta. In the wet season, the elephants disperse with their range expanding to include food sources at water-filled pans.

Browse our budget Okavango Delta Safaris.

Dusty Chobe elephants -

Best Safaris to See Elephants in Chobe & the Okavango Delta:

Getting to Chobe & the Okavango Delta

There are plenty of Southern Africa Safaris that visit both Chobe Park and the Okavango Delta as part of longer itineraries with most Botswana Safaris including these top elephant hotspots. 

The closest town to the Okavango Delta is Maun with several tours travelling from Maun into the Delta on a regular basis. You can compare upcoming tours departing from Maun here. For Chobe Safaris the closest access point is the town of Kasane, making it a convenient place to start your safari. Browse our upcoming Kasane tour departures here.

Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe is another popular starting point for safaris to Chobe and the Okavango Delta. View our calendar listing for tours departing from Victoria Falls to start your trip at this adventure hub.

2. Zimbabwe - Hwange National Park

JoepyrekHwange elephants - Joepyrek

  • one of Africa's elephant strongholds
  • a huge population of about 44 000 elephants in an area of 14 651 km² (AG 2017)
  • often sight hundreds of elephants in one day

Ready to see more elephants than you can count? Head to Hwange on one of our Budget Hwange Safaris.

Getting to Hwange Park in Zimbabwe

The best way to get to Hwange Park is to fly to Victoria Falls town and travel overland through Zimbabwe. The drive from Vic Falls to Hwange takes less than three hours. 

For Hwange Safaris starting in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) view our calendar listing of Victoria Falls tour departures.

3. South Africa - Kruger National Park

Kruger elephants -

  • about 15 000 elephants in an area of 19,480 km² in South Africa
  • elephants in Kruger Park are relatively habituated 
  • embark on walking safaris in Greater Kruger

One of the best things about viewing elephants in Kruger is that you can take a walking safari in one of the private reserves of Greater Kruger to see these giants on foot!

Our 4 Day Kruger Park Walking Safari is an excellent one for seeing elephants on foot in the African bush.

Kruger walking safari -

We can take you on all kinds of Budget Kruger Tours - short to long, camping to lodge, walking to 4x4 and more.

Getting to Kruger Park 

The simplest way to get to Kruger Park is to fly to Johannesburg, the biggest city and closest major travel hub in South Africa. Browse our upcoming tours departing from Johannesburg to find a variety of Kruger Safaris, including fly-in tour options.

4. Kenya - Tsavo East & West National Park

Elen NivraeTsavo elephants - Elen Nivrae

  • Tsavo East & West, the largest protected area in Kenya, host the highest number of Kenya's estimated 35 000 elephants
  • the combined Tsavo-Mkomazi ecosystem of 46 000 km² hosts over 12 570 elephants

Go 4x4 game viewing in Tsavo and the famous Masai Mara, as well as Amboseli (also an elephant hotspot) on this Kenya Parks & Masai Mara Fly-in Lodge Safari or browse our Budget Tsavo Safaris.

Getting to Tsavo National Park

Flying to Nairobi and heading south overland is the most affordable way to get to the Tsavo national parks of Kenya. If you plan on starting your Tsavo Safari in Nairobi browse our upcoming tours departing from Nairobi.

5. Zambia - South Luangwa National Park

Lower zambezi elephants -

  • roughly 10 000 elephants inhabiting the 9050km² South Luangwa Park
  • large elephant herds, up to 70 individuals strong
  • 20 to 35 000 elephants in the Luangwa Valley / lower Zambezi River area in Zambia
  • encounter elephants on thrilling walking safaris  

South Luangwa is a gem for walking safaris and, as with Kruger, is ideal for getting up close to elephants on foot. This 7 Day South Luangwa Tented Camps Walking Safari is a really special find.

Luangwa walking safari elephants -

If walking is not your thing then there are plenty of other South Luangwa Safaris to choose from.

Getting to South Luangwa Park

Given its location, South Luangwa can be accessed from several popular travel hubs in the region. These include Lilongwe in Malawi, Lusaka or Livingstone in Zambia and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. This enables travellers to visit South Luangwa as part of safaris to East Africa or Southern Africa, or both. 

South Luangwa combines well with the adventure hotspot of Victoria Falls. There are plenty of tours starting in Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe, as well as tours departing from Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Falls. For short South Luangwa Safaris, browse our upcoming departures from Lilongwe.

6. Kenya - Amboseli National Park

Regina HartAmboseli elephants - Regina Hart

  • reputed to be the best place in Africa to get up close to free-ranging elephants
  • around 1 500 elephants in just 392 km² 
  • herds of up to 100 elephants can be seen
  • home to many big, old bull elephants and tuskers
  • excellent photographic opportunities of elephant herds with scenic Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

Amboseli elephants with Kilimanjaro -

To get a shot at the classic Amboseli image of African elephants with Kilimanjaro as a backdrop, embark on one of our Amboseli Budget Safaris. This fantastic Tsavo, Amboseli & Mara Kenya Lodge Safari is a luxury camping tour that flies to Masai Mara and back.

Getting to Amboseli Park

Most budget safaris to Amboseli travel from Nairobi, Kenya's capital. You can browse our upcoming tours departing from Nairobi here. Another well-priced option is to travel to Amboseli from Arusha in northern Tanzania. View our upcoming tours departing from Arusha here.

7. Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit (Serengeti National Park, Tarangire National Park & Ngorongoro Crater)

  • Tarangire - 2 500 individuals in the Tarangire ecosystem of 20 000 km² in Tanzania (big herds of about 300 elephants strong)
  • Ngorongoro Crater - big, old bull elephants with large tusks are often seen in the Crater
  • Serengeti  Park - over 2000 elephants on the 14 760 km² plains

You can experience the famous Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit on several of our budget Tanzania tours, like this well-priced Northern Safari Circuit to Zanzibar Overland Camping combining top African beach and bush Meccas.

MikeSerengeti elephant herd - Mike

Serengeti's neighbouring Masai Mara National Reserve is also home to large herds of elephants that roam the scenic plains of this 1510 km² Kenyan game park. Masai Mara forms part of the Serengeti Ecosystem.

Masai Mara elephants -

Our Masai Mara & Serengeti Overland Camping Safari takes you to both iconic African reserves.

Getting to Tanzania's Northern Safari Circuit

Your two best options for getting to the Northern Safari Circuit on a budget, are to fly to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Nairobi in Kenya. Check out our affordable tour options by visiting the upcoming Nairobi tour departures and Dar es Salaam tour departures calendars. To keep your overland travel distances to a minimum you can also hop onto the Northern Safari Circuit from Arusha. You can view upcoming Arusha tour departures here.

8. Kenya - Samburu National Park

  • over 900 elephants resident in or visiting the Samburu Reserve throughout the year.
  • about 5 400 elephants in the combined Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem of around 28 490 km² (11 000 square miles) 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
Samburu elephants - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

If you are serious about elephant watching go wild on this Kenyan Game Parks 4x4 Lodge Safari which explores Tsavo National Park, Amboseli National Park and Samburu National Reserve (all three of Kenya's best parks for seeing elephants)!

Getting to Samburu Park

As with most East African Safaris, the starting point for most Samburu Safaris is typically Nairobi, Kenya's main travel hub. Browse our Nairobi tour departures to find several affordable Samburu Safaris.

9. Namibia - Etosha National Park

  • herds of elephants congregate at the waterholes of Etosha, especially in the dry season
  • over 2 000 elephants in the 22 270 km² park
  • flat plains and low vegetation make for easy sightings of family groups and bulls

simonsimagesEtosha elephants and zebras - simonsimages

Etosha is one of Southern Africa's leading safaris destinations offering exceptional wildlife viewing. There are plenty of budget-friendly Etosha Safaris for families, solo travellers, small groups and more. 

Getting to Etosha Park

The most direct way to reach Etosha National Park is to fly to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Find an affordable Etosha Safari on our calendar listing of upcoming tours departing from Windhoek here.

10. South Africa - Addo Elephant National Park

Mark de ScandeAddo elephants - Mark de Scande

  • home to one of the densest African elephant populations on earth
  • estimated at around 550 elephants in the 1 640 km² Addo Park
  • South Africa's third largest national park
  • home to some of the largest elephants in Africa

Getting to Addo Elephant Park

The closest city to Addo Park is Port Elizabeth (PE), located under an hour's drive from the national park in the Eastern Cape. Although PE is a smaller city there are a few tours departing from Port Elizabeth which visit Addo.

A less direct, but often more affordable option, is to fly to one of the bigger cities in South Africa, namely Durban in KwaZulu-Natal or Cape Town in the Western Cape. You can browse our budget South Africa Tours and Garden Route Tours which include Addo Elephant Park by upcoming departure date. View our calendars for tours departing from Cape Town or upcoming tours departing from Durban

Not sure where to start? Many of our South African tours include safaris in Addo Elephant Park as part of itineraries to the Garden Route from Cape Town, Durban or Port Elizabeth.

11. Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania

  • over 40 000 elephants in the 80 000 km² Selous Ecosystem of southeast Tanzania (includes Selous Game Reserve, Mikumi National Park and buffer areas)
  • Selous is home to over half of Tanzania's elephant population
  • one of the largest elephant populations in the world

See the elephants of Selous and Ruaha National Park (also an elephant stronghold) on our Southern Tanzania Budget Lodge Safari or Southern Tanzania Budget Camping Safari.

SkeezeElephant portrait - Skeeze

Getting to Selous Game Reserve

Selous is in southern Tanzania, so the best way to get there is from Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania. Selous is an unusual, lesser-known safari destination but we do feature several budget tours that visit the Selous Ecosystem. To find upcoming Selous Safaris check out our tours departing from Dar es Salaam. For more options visit our calendar listings for tours departing from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or our Nairobi tour departures in Kenya.

Elephant Range Map of Africa

The map below shows places where African elephants (forest and savannah sub-species) are found in the wild in Africa.

Elephant Distribution Map from WWF

Find out more about elephants in this National Geographic Elephant feature or on the WWF African elephant page.

To hop on your ultimate affordable safari to see elephants in Africa contact African Budget Safaris.

South Luangwa camp -

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