Accolades and accomplishments well deserved are pouring in for Mason Adventures, owner of Mason Elephant Park and Lodge and once again recognised as Bali’s most progressive activities company.
We’re sitting here at the recently reopened Mason Elephant Park and Lodge. I say reopened, but in truth they never took a day off over the last three or so years. Closed to the public yes, but feeding and caring for a large herd of elephants is not a vanity job, and in Indonesia there are no subsidies! So it’s nose to the ground or better said, trunks to the trough or nothing comes out alive!
But firstly, let’s travel back in time. The year is 1997 and Nigel Mason, founder of the then Bali Adventure Rafting (now rebranded as Mason Adventures), heard of the plight of nine elephants in northern Sumatra. Logging and deforestation had thrown up a few randoms – the original nine are not from the same herd – they were under-nourished, chained to posts barren of food and shade, with their true habitat having made way for human ‘progress’.
The Herculean task that followed culminated in what is lovingly known as Operation Jumbo (You Tube – Operation Jumbo, Bali) and the subsequent survival of these nine pachyderms, traveling by truck over a vast distance, with their safe arrival into the shady, luscious, verdant hills of Taro, Bali. Well-fed and well cared for, they were soon breeding and the park has enjoyed six births (with no artificial insemination).
The above covers the dream and the initial challenge, and, over the years, indeed the Park has flourished, boasting up to 350 visitors a day and deservedly becoming a world-renowned, must-visit destination in Bali.
Before the Park there was the Adventure Company…
Mason’s Adventure Tours is family owned, and therefore receives a level of care and attention seldom found in other tourist concerns on offer across the island. Very focused founders, a continuously and fully trained team of tour leaders and staff for rafting, trekking, cycling or buggy driving, a fleet of privately-owned buses and transport options, including a medivac helicopter, all underwritten by a quality insurance company. Five star facilities and service, from start to finish!
We decided to ask the founding family members a couple of questions:
Why did you change the name of the company to Mason Adventures?
Because of plagiarism, which had been a constant annoyance for many years, so our family name Mason was patented with the name changed to Mason Adventures.
What is the purpose of Mason Elephant Park and Lodge?
The purpose of the Lodge (hotel) was to give the people who had requested to stay, a 5-star choice for the future.
Does Mason have other businesses?
Currently, apart from the Elephant Park, there is The Lodge, rafting, trekking, cycling, jungle buggies, spas, and also our now famous Mason Chocolates brand. We also have our own Bakery and Gelato factory!
What plans do you have in the pipeline over the next few years?
That’s hard to answer at this time as everything is on hold until we can pay back our loans to the bank, due to the Covid closure.
Finally, what does it cost a day to feed an elephant?
It costs a minimum of US$1,000 per month just to feed one elephant. Other related costs brings that up to about US$2,000 per month for each elephant’s keep.
How many staff does Mason Adventures employ?
At this time we employ between 500 to 600 staff.
And, how much does it cost to enter the park?
The cost of a park entry is IDR395,000 (US$27).
Can you tell us a bit more about the alternative tours / offers? Chocolate classes, they are a new addition?
We now offer a variety of new chocolate tours, where guests can learn all about our chocolate-making process from plant to bar, taste different types of chocolate and create your very own chocolates. We are also re-opening our Japanese inspired spa in Ubud, called Shinto Spa. Which is like a piece of Japan in the heart of Bali that offers a variety of Japanese and Asian inspired natural therapies. You can also combine our spa activities with many of our tours, such as a foot reflexology after your rafting trip.
Helicopter Sky Tours?
We are currently in negotiation with a very reputable helicopter company to fill the void whilst our current aircraft is in Papua.
Weddings and private events?
We offer very unique wedding experiences in Bali, such as being wed atop an elephant or getting married in the jungle and then embarking on a white raft down the river!
We also do vow renewals and offer symbolic Balinese blessing ceremonies, wearing Balinese wedding regalia or the traditional white wedding with all the classic trimmings. Our event planning team can also customize adventures and special events for incentive groups, meetings, team building, group outings, conferences, corporates sales programs or private functions. We also have a new 150 seat amphitheater at the elephant park, with a stage and six-meter screen available too.
Whichever of the Mason adventures you choose, they are very professionally run, well executed, directed and presented. Loads of fun too! And staying up at The Lodge is a totally unique experience.