Ithumba: A Safe Haven for Elephants

For elephant lovers, it is hard to imagine a paradise more perfect than Ithumba Camp in Tsavo East National Park.  Owned and managed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the camp operates a reintroduction program for orphaned elephants.  Guests at Ithumba have the extraordinary opportunity to interact with young elephants who trust humans but are progressing toward life in the wild.  Guests can watch the elephants safely from a short distance and can even feed and pet them if the elephants allow.  Wild elephants also join in on the action, mingling with the orphans and tolerating human presence in a safe and welcoming environment.  Ithumba has had extraordinary success in rehabilitating and releasing elephants, and it plays an important role in elephant conservation in Kenya.

Two elephants share a tender moment at Ithumba.

Founded in 2005, Ithumba was designed as a conservation initiative to protect all wildlife, not just elephants, in the northern area of Tsavo East.  Its construction was funded by the proceeds of the BBC Elephant Diaries series.  The camp is self-catering and has relatively low maintenance costs, so most of its income is paid directly to the Kenya Wildlife Service to support conservation projects.  It only has four tents, so it provides a truly intimate experience for visitors.

Guests at Campi ya Kanzi can request an overnight excursion to Ithumba as a special added activity.  A guide, cook, and pilot will accompany the guests to ensure their comfort and enjoyment as they embark on this magical experience.  We have made several excursions to Ithumba in the last six weeks, and we are delighted to share some of our photos and videos with you.  Scroll down to see heartwarming pictures by Stefano and to watch Luca kiss an elephant!

The young elephants at Ithumba absolutely love their milk bottles!


Like humans, elephants drink with their heads upright.
They use their trunks suck up water and then squirt it into their mouths.
Have you ever wanted to kiss an elephant?
Watch Luca feed one directly from his mouth!


Wild elephants mingle with the orphans at bath time.


The elephants love their midday mud bath.


A refreshing swim helps the elephants to stay cool, clean, and parasite-free.


A host of happy elephants rush into the water at bath time.


This photo-friendly elephant is ready for a close-up!


The young elephants loyally follow one of their caretakers on parade.


Stefano made a new friend!


The young elephants are perfectly comfortable with Pashiet.


Parashi poses with the elephants.


The main lodge at Ithumba is remarkable for its bold architectural design.