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Elephants and their Young at Kariega

Jone Haesslich

Elephants Numbers Grow in Eastern Cape Reserve

Kariega Elephant calf Laura Malpass

Over the past few months we have been blessed with the arrival of a number of elephant calves. We are always excited about the long-awaited birth of an elephant as their gestation period is nearly two years (680 days). This is the longest known gestational period of any animal.

Newborn Elephants at Kariega Game Reserve

A newborn elephant weighs between 77 and 113 kilograms (169-249 pounds) and is roughly 90cm (2,9 ft) tall when measured at the shoulder. Elephant calves can consume around 11 litres (372 fl oz) of milk a day. A calf nurses throughout the day and is completely dependent on its mother for all of its nourishment for the entire first year of its life. Usually a newborn elephant calf will get onto its feet within thirty minutes of birth and is able to follow along with the herd shortly after.

Kariega Elephantcalf Faisal Khan

Kariega Elephant calf1 Laura Malpass

Watch Elephants Bonding on Kariega Safari

The bond between the mother and her calf is a very special one. If the calf is a female, she will likely remain with her mother her entire life. A young male does not form this lifelong bond and will become restless from the age of about twelve. Once the male separates from their herd he is known as a solitary bull.

Kariega Elephant calf Sabina Schmidiger

Our thanks to Kariega guests Faisal Khan, Laura Malpass and Sabina Schmidiger for posting these lovely elephant images. Did you have any sightings of elephant at Kariega during your stay? We would love to hear about your elephant encounters. Please post your pictures on our Facebook page or email