Elephant families and the rise of multi-generational safaris

Posted by Emily on Wed March 20, 2024 in Travel experiences, Safari Experiences, and Wildlife.

Did you know that most animals don’t have grandmothers? At least not in the way that we, as humans, do. Elephants, however, are one of the few species with whom we share this trait. Research shows that elephants born to young mothers are up to eight times more likely to survive if their grandmother is around. Wisened by years of child-rearing, leadership and life experience, elephant grandmothers are a critical support system and source of guidance to their families. Not unlike us.

The truth is that multi-generational families are not the only similarities between our two species. Elephants have been scientifically recognised to show empathy and have a deep emotional intelligence. Stories tell of these gentle giants migrating year after year to the bones of a fallen loved one; to touch, smell and exhibit what can only be described as grief.

Herds of elephants are largely made up of related females and their young offspring with the eldest female, often a grandmother, being the matriarch. So profound are the connections between these female elephants – mothers, aunties, sisters and grandmothers – that the loss of a family member can be felt within the herd many years later. Family, it seems, is just as important to elephants as it is to us.

Though many of us lead busy lives, separate from our parents and grandparents, a new multi-generational travel trend is on the rise. Not only can mom and dad rely on the support of an extended family network for childcare, meaning they too can take a moment to relax, but it’s also a wonderful bonding experience. One Oxford study even found that grandparents play a high-level role in the emotional and behavioural development of children. Just like elephants, our young families thrive when surrounded by an experienced support network.

At Klaserie Drift, we have always believed in the power of nature to bring people of all ages and generations together. Our children’s innate love of wildlife and nature, sometimes forgotten as an adult, comes alive when witnessing a herd of elephants in the wild for the very first time. Creating precious memories and shared experiences with our families is something that not only binds us together but lives forever in our hearts and minds.

This year, we have been overjoyed to host several multi-generational family safaris – with some members travelling across the world to reunite with their loved ones. By reserving the lodge on an exclusive-use basis for your gathering, we can afford the maximum flexibility so that nobody is left out, no matter their age. Whether you dream of relaxing by the pool whilst all the cousins get hooked on nature, or you want to finally treat the grandparents to a well-deserved break – gather up the family and start planning your multi-generational safari today!

Words and Photos | Emily Whiting