Staff at the safari park were baffled by the mystery of the disappearing whirlpool bath.
Every morning they filled the open-air bath outside one of the guest lodges, and every night it was empty – even though no leak could be found.
It was only when a guest heard a mighty slurping and went outside with a camera that the culprit was discovered in the shape of Troublesome the elephant.
The elephant – nicknamed ‘Troublesome’ – is well known to rangers at the reserve for her inquisitive nature.
But no-one realised she was behind the ‘leak’ at the Jacuzzi-style hot tub outside one of the £400-a-night lodges.
Susan Potgieter, owner of Etali Safari Lodge, in North West Province, South Africa, said elephants could drink more than 200 litres of water a day so drinking a whole whirlpool bath was no problem.
She said: ‘When I first saw the photograph of her drinking I couldn’t believe it. And then it dawned on me of course an elephant was drinking it.
‘It was something of a relief because we had been trying to work out why the pool had been draining so quickly for weeks but couldn’t find a leak anywhere.