I have recently planned to go for a long trail that passes through a territory that is known for elephants.

While speaking of camping overall, I know what basics should I be following, but are there any special precautions that I should be taking specifically considering the elephants?
(Like the specific discussions about taking precautions in bear territory).

EDIT: If possible we could have a generic perspective, if not, then I'd like to have more emphasize on Indian elephants.

  • I don´t know if it makes any difference, but are you talking about African or Indian elephants? Commented Dec 2, 2014 at 12:42
  • 3
    In East Africa, both elephants and water buffalo are hazards, and the advice I've heard was to avoid hiking in twilight. I think this is on the theory that you want to avoid surprising the animals by walking around a corner when they don't know you're there. In daylight they're more likely to see you coming, so they aren't taken by surprise. If you see a herd of water buffalo from a distance, keep your distance from them.
    – user2169
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


I've been through a couple of mammalian surveys in the south Indian forests known for elephants. Here are my few suggestions (Disclaimer: These were told to me by forest officials. I cannot vouch for the validity of these).

  1. Avoid anything that has a strong odor. (Deos, soaps et al).
  2. Avoid bright coloured clothes. (It was told to me that bright coloured clothes can attract unwanted attention and possible aggression from elephants who are very protective of their young).
  3. Avoid watering holes. (These are frequented by elephants and it is best to not camp near to one)
  4. Look for signs of broken branches/trees, elephant dung(trust me you wont miss this!) and stay away from those paths which are frequented by elephants.
  5. Never get too close to one in case you do find an elephant. Climbing up a tree or running up a mountain won't help either. For elephants can tear down a tree and use their trunk as a fifth limb.
  6. Bamboo is a delicacy. You might want to stay away from heavily bambooed forest areas.
  7. Last but not the least, keep a fire up all night at your camp and never intrude the personal space of an elephant.

PS: As an afterthought, in case you have information regarding a tusker roaming around in musth, you might altogether want to avoid the route. Tuskers in musk are unpredictable and no amount of precautions can help.

  • This and the comment by Ben are probably the only helping advice I've received over this topic. Thanks mate.
    – WedaPashi
    Commented Dec 5, 2014 at 6:08

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