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Elephant Camp and Elephant Safari at Periyar National Park in Thekkady

The Twidell family sharing their experience of Elephant Camp at Periyar National Park in Thekkady, Kerala.

An opportunity to see elephants was top of the list for us when planning a family holiday to Kerala, and we were not disappointed. The elephant camp in Kumily was a wonderful experience. We had seen wild elephants the previous day on a safari in Periyar National Park, and were keen to see them more closely. For the children (aged 8 and 7), this was their first sighting of elephants outside of the zoo, so they were slightly in awe of the opportunity to be so close to these amazing animals.

Riding on the elephant's back was great fun, once we got over the initial fear of heights and the swaying motion! We enjoyed a scenic walk through the local jungle area, punctuated by Maryam (our elephant friend) stopping to munch on trees.

Watching the close relationships between the elephants and their trainers was very interesting. There was a clear bond, and we loved helping give an elephant called Bina a bath, while she lay on her side, including scrubbing her pink spotted ears and enormous feet. But the best part was her giving us a shower in return, and it was an unforgettable experience to climb on her back and feel the full force of her trunk as she showered us with a wall of water!

We spent a wonderful couple of hours with the elephants but this has given us all very special memories to last a lifetime. - Carol Twidell