If you want a memory you will never forget in Bali choosing Mason Adventures is a must! I had a blast driving Jungle Buggies and visiting the magical Mason Elephant Park just north of Ubud, Bali. Incredibly well organized and enriching you won't be disappointed with any and every experience you choose.
Hi Wanderers! Madeline here again, founder & illustrator at Wander Scarf. I had the most Wanderful day with Mason Adventures that started with exploring the jungle in buggies and ended bathing with elephants.
The Mason Elephant Park and Jungle Buggies along with other actives such as white water rafting and mountain cycling are located just north of Ubud. You can book a pick up through the Mason Adventures team or rent a scooter and ride there from downtown Ubud yourself, its that easy.
Mason adventures has many packages and activities that you can choose from. You have the option of combining two things in one day like I did or experiencing one activity on its own. Check it out here: Mason Adventures.
Upon entering the Jungle Buggy facility you are greeted by a beautiful pool view. If I didn't know I was hopping in the water with some elephants right after this I would have totally taken a dip. So if you love a great pool I would suggest bringing a bathing suit to take a plunge after tearing it up in the dirt.
After a quick safety video we jumped into our Buggies and hit the jungle! Our guide Mistari was super fun and informative. He knew I was writing an article and paused to take photos and videos so you all could see how rad the jungle buggies are which was so kind and wonderful!
Mistari also explained the land for the jungle buggy track is rented from the local village that Mason Adventures maintains a close relationship, support and mutually beneficial partnership with.
This experience definitely exceeded my expectations. We opted for the extra lap because it was just so fun!
First lets answer the most important question, why are these elephants here? An infographic at the entrance of the Mason Elephant Park answers this question specifically:
"We founded our park back in 1997, when we rescued the first group of displaced critically endangered Sumatran elephants from the holding camps in Sumatra, where they were held as a result of rampant deforestation, poisoning and poaching. In these camps they were kept indefinitely with an average life expectancy to be 3-7 years due to dismal living conditions and lack of proper care. Sadly, over time the situation has worsened to the point where the native elephant species could be completely extinct in the wild by the year 2030.
Our mission over the years has been to save as many elephants as we could, encompassing multiple journeys over land and sea, spanning thousands of kilometers encountering a multitude of of economic, political, and natural hardships along the way to bring them to comfortable and safe place to call home here in Bali.
In a perfect world, parks such as this would not need to exist, and the elephants would all be roaming in their native habitat. However, the sad reality is that the jungle they left behind is no longer there to return to. The park is now home to 27 rescued Sumatran elephants and a number of healthy babies born here as a part our successful natural breeding program. In accordance to our relationship with the Indonesian forestry department, every elephant has been entrusted to us to look after, and we do not privately own any of them."
The Mason Elephant park prioritizes these gentle giants medical, health care and safety. The park gives all elephants daily vitamin supplements, regular anti worm dosing and six monthly injections for diseases such as tetanus. As an animal and elephant lover knowing these magical creatures are extremely well looked after, happy and taken care of is of the utmost importance.
Pictured below is the area that is open to all visitors with an admissions pass. If you don't opt to partake in the washing, bathing or elephant ride you can come here to observe, interact with, feed and crown some elephant queens in flowers.
What do elephants eat? Can you believe these HUGE creatures are vegetarian!?! In order to get enough fuel (130 kg of vegetation a day) elephants spend more than two-thirds of their time eating! Some of their favorite foods include figs, wild bananas, black plums and wild coffee berries.
It's especially fun to hand elephants treats and watch their trunks dexterously pass it to their mouths. I highly recommend it!
I knew I really wanted to help bathe an elephant. I am a huge animal lover and any time I can take the opportunity to bond with and make an animal feel good I am going to take it!
So that I didn't have to travel with a bunch of extra cloths I converted my Bologna Wander Scarf top into a skirt! So only had to bring a bathing suit with me to the Elephant Park.
Do elephants use there trunk as a snorkel?
The answer is YES!
If you opt for the bathing experience get ready to be dunked completely under water! Don't worry the elephants Mahout (Trainer) is with you the entire time looking out for your & the precious elephants safety the entire time. Every Mahout spends year developing a special bond between themselves and the elephant in their care through a system of patience, repetition and reward.
Is riding elephants bad? The Mason Elephant Park has a direct answer to this question too:
"Although this may come as a surprise to many, but when done ethically, rides are actually beneficial very beneficial for an elephants overall health and wellbeing for the following reasons; regulates circulations & respiration, sustain muscle growth & bone density, helps them digest food, improves cognitive health and prevents foot ailments which cause more than %50 of all captive elephant deaths."
The cutest thing I learned is 'the elephant kiss.' Elephants often place their trunk tip in another's mouth and it is adorable to behold. When they are very young, this usually means they are taking a tidbit of food from their mother; as they get older it becomes a recognition signal between family members. How incredible is that!
The mason elephant park opens with a lovely little museum that answers any other questions you have. You can check out my pictures here or visit yourself, and I hope you do!
I had an incredible time with Mason Adventures and hope to visit again soon. Until next time!