Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: The elephant sanctuary, Hartbeespoort #elephants #poetry #writingchallenge

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). You can join in here:

During our recent short stay at the Ukutula Conservation Centre, we visited the elephant sanctuary in Hartbeespoort which offers an interactive elephant experience as well as overnight accommodation.

The entrance and ground floor of the Lodge is rather spectacular.

The four elephants at the sanctuary are older animals. This is the largest male. He is 3,5 metres high.

We spent some time with two of the elephants and were able to feed one, walk with two and pet two. It was interesting to be so close to these huge animals and we were continuously reminded by the guide that they are not tame, they are trained and must be treated with respect.

I took a few videos of our elephant experience which you can view here:

Dan is also running a writing challenge for the month of May. He has posted a selection of interesting doors and the challenge is to write a short story or poem about it.

This is the picture I selected:

The pet

Beyond the doorway lies

A beloved pet

Eyes laughing, he smiles with doggy affection

Watching my every move

with rapt attention


Whimpering with pleasure

As I draw closer

He runs up to me: Is a walk on offer?

How could I not react

With equal delight


Through the streets of the town

We march, side-by-side

But at the wood he throws decorum aside

Like a dervish, he’s gone

But soon he’ll be back

By Robbie Cheadle

You can join in the writing challenge here:

65 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: The elephant sanctuary, Hartbeespoort #elephants #poetry #writingchallenge

  1. Awe-inspiring photos and videos, Robbie! Elephants are incredible creatures. Glad you got an up-close look at some of them, and thank you for sharing your experience!


  2. Thank you for sharing your elephant experience with us, Robbie! What does their skin feel like?

    I enjoyed your doggie poem. I feel the same way about mine, although I don’t trust him off the leash.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great doors, and I enjoyed the videos. I know you say they are wild but trained, but they are so large and the look quite graceful.

    I like the poem you have prepared for the writing challenge. I could see that playing out.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh that must have been a such a unique experience Robbie! Elephants are very intelligent creatures. They can feel people’s emotions.
    Did they have names?
    I love the poem btw! A dog is such a pleasure……and cats!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Wayne, they did have African names but I can’t remember them 😞. I’m not good at languages and have to practice names that are unfamiliar to me. It was a lovely experience. Elephants are interesting. Intelligent as you say, but destructive and unpredictable, especially the males.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I love it all, but not enough to have an elephant in my back garden. I can’t think of anywhere it could go. 😦


  6. That must have been an amazing experience, Robbie! A huge bull elephant passed our little hire car the first time we visited Addo. He almost brushed against the car, towering above us. Awesome and scary.
    Lovely doggie poem 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Amazing elephant videos. Lucky you. …and at least the sweet elephants are not in the wild where they can be killed for their tusks.
    Adore your doggy poem. The open door not only reveals you pup, but 3 more doors as well.
    Wonderful post Roberta!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Jan, I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. It is the tourists who are often quite ignorant about animals. The guides know that they need to be respectful of the animals at all times. One of the caregivers lost a friend last year when he was trampled by an elephant [at a different sanctuary].


  8. Robbie, I love your elephant videos. Most of us never get that close to any animal that big Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience. Your poem is very heartfelt. Who could resist that persuasive face?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The elephants are amazing and so huge. It is interesting to see you all standing beside them. The Canberra Zoo (and maybe others) offer lodge accomodation too. I know they do the giraffe and tiger but I’m not sure about others. It’s very expensive but would be an awesome experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Norah, it is lovely to see these animals. It would be wonderful if they could all be wild, but that is not practical with so little of their natural habitat left. I didn’t know about this lodge and it does look rather nice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As much as I don’t like animals to be in cages, many ‘zoos’ are now free-range parks. I think when we get to see them up close we can make a connection with them and learn to appreciate and care for them more.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. Some amazing photos with the elephants. We used to have some in the zoo up here, but they have been moved (rightfully so) to an elephant reserve down south. I love the photo of the dog and the poem.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mark, sanctuaries or reserves are better for all animals as they have more space and it is a more natural environment for them. I don’t stand in judgement though as so many animals are endangered that any facility that caters to their needs and cares for them is okay. Better than having no elephants.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks for sharing your pictures and videos from the elephant sanctuary. Seeing them on YouTube really shows how big and powerful the elephants are. Watch out for those tusks, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Barbara, I learned on the tour that modern elephants have much smaller tusks that in the past. This is due to the elephants with the biggest tusks being hunted so their genes were eliminated from the breeding pool.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I love this post, Robbie, and it’s great that you were able to get up close to the elephants. What an adventure and experience! They are magnificent! And I love your dog poem, too, which I can relate to. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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