Swimming Elephant

Rajan - Barefoot's 63 year old retired Asian elephant is the last of the famous ocean swimming elephants of the Andaman Islands. He is a well known celebrity having featured in the Hollywood movie 'The Fall'.

Like most elephants, Rajan loves the water and enjoys his swims. With us, you could dive or snorkel alongside this beautiful tusker and add that extra zing to your Andaman experience. Every year many professional underwater photographers and magazine journalists make the journey to the Emerald Isles just to meet and have the opportunity to interact and photograph this amazing swimming elephant.

Diving or snorkeling with Rajan is a unique and enriching experience. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and is truly a magical experience. Every season snorkelers and divers from all over the globe are amazed and mesmerized by his grace and relative weightlessness underwater.If you thought diving with a great white shark is the most special you could do, think again!

To ensure that our guests get the most out of this once in a lifetime experience, we like to keep the groups for this trip small. It is not Barefoot's intention to turn this celebrity elephant into a circus act by getting him to swim too often and with too many people. Hence diving or snorkeling with Rajan needs to be booked ahead of time so we can keep our bookings few and far between.

A typical dive with Rajan - what's it like?

When you first get to Beach #7, you will meet this gentle giant in the jungle just behind the beach, probably munching away on some leafs or scratching himself on a tree trunk.

The divers kit up on the beach and will enter the water from there. Once the divers are in, Rajan will slowly make his way down to the waterline, carrying his mahout on his back. Together they enter the water, which on days can be a bit tricky for the two, since there can be some waves.

As the divers descend while Rajan walks towards them you will see a cloud of sand to start with, out of which Rajan will appear. He slowly walks through the water, enjoying himself. With the water getting deeper, he will slowly lift his hind legs and continue walking on the front legs, before eventually lifting his front legs as well off the ground when the water is deep enough for him to swim.

This moment is truly magical. It's certainly an experience, to see this large Asian male elephant (who by the way is the largest in all of the Andaman Islands), move so elegantly and almost effortlessly in the water.

Rajan does dive; however there are some days were he doesn't want to go quite as deep or have a long swim and nobody will force him to. But even on days where he is more of a walking elephant- it's still as breathtaking and a once in a lifetime experience.