Looking for a top rated Safari Camp? Antelope Park is the place to go. Situated in Gweru in southern Zimbabwe, Antelope Park is everything that you could possibly desire in a safari camp all laid out on over 3000 acres of plush greenlands. The grounds are spectacular, right on the edge of a quaint lake with picnic tables, coffee shop and a restaurant for dining. It has everything that you need plus more.
Antelope Park is your location if you are looking for an all around “African Safari Experience” without having to go to several locations. The park has a menu of attractions to choose from that include but not limited to Lion Walks/Feedings, Cub Viewing, Night Encounters, Bush Walk, Snake Induction, Fishing, Horse and Elephant Rides as well as boat and canoe hire along with a variety of accommodation options. We were only at the park for a short visit but I saw it as the perfect opportunity to check off one of the items on my “Life List” (My version of a bucket list)….I HAD TO ride an elephant!
I have had a love for elephants for years. I would go to the circus just to see them. As a youngster I admired my Mom’s collection of elephant figurines wondering what it would be like to touch one, to get up close and feed one peanuts. Short of joining the payroll of Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, I couldn’t have ever dreamed that I would get this opportunity…and so I did it!
Being very honest, I was so nervous that it felt like a first date. My hands were super sweaty and I was smiling like a schoolgirl. We mounted these huge African Elephants as they knelt down and gently hoisted us up to remarkable heights. The moment came, it was me, a Pachyderm and a guide that I am sure thought that I had lost my mind as I was clinching on to him for dear life. I was riding Chibi a female, while “P” was on the male elephant, at that moment I felt as if I was in a very exotic dream, seeing the African bush through the eyes of a surprisingly graceful, multi ton beast.
As luck would have it we spotted giraffe off in the distance and our guides took us to get a closer look! Not only did we ride elephants but we were riding beside feeding giraffe. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable elephant trainers and they took us on what would be one of the most unforgettable experiences during our trip to Zimbabwe. They informed us of the background of our elephants as well as the history of Antelope Park and most importantly they kept us safe!
My initial fear and anxiety ceased and before long I was comfortable enough to hold on to my guide with one hand and rest the other on Chibi’s back. There was something very spiritual about the ride. I felt a closeness with nature as I had never felt before. Feeling the breeze from a height that I had never been along with the African sun kissing my shoulders. I was in a calm place. That feeling that you get after an intense meditation session, as if you have been in a completely undisturbed state of rest with no interruptions and no thoughts. Just you, outside of yourself, living in the NOW. I didn’t want it to end.
After we returned to our starting point we were allowed to take photos with the elephants and touch them. I was in heaven!
Antelope Park offers an array of activities and a wide range of accommodation options that will satisfy everyone from the serious nature enthusiasts to those that like a bit of nature along with their creature comforts. Lodges can be booked as well as the camping area and river tents.
Visit www.antelopepark.co.zw for specials and more information.
Elephant Ride was $32 (US) per person for 30 minutes and Park Entry is $10 per person. Though the park entry fee is a bit pricey, the experience was well worth it. Antelope Park is a place that my family will return to for sure.
I was still excited. Big or small, elephants are elephants, after all. Just before we mounted, when I was sure no one could see me, I quickly kissed the shoulder of my beast and murmured, ‘Hey, sweetie.’
‘Hey, darlin’.” That was Tonio, appearing suddenly by my shoulder. He gave me a laughing look that suggested he was either amused by or attracted to women who kiss elephants for no good reason.”
~Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds