The scene was captured by amateur photographer Christophe Beaudufe who was on his first safari
They got down in less than 20 minutes before splashing around in the water.
The entire scene was caught on camera by amateur photographer Christophe Beaudufe, who was on safari when he spotted the unusual sight.
Mr Beaudufe, 50, captured the scene while on the Sabie River at the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
He said: ‘I was driving along when I saw these elephants sliding down the sandy riverbank on their side.
‘At first I thought they had lost their balance, but they continued to slide down like children in a playground.
He added: ‘I could not see any elephant tumbling over, and all of them seemed to master the sliding techniques, on their side with their legs downwards.
‘After playing and bathing for an hour, they crossed the river and then the road in front of us to go back to the bush.
‘I was lucky to spot this amazing behaviour during my very first safari.’
Mr Beaudufe suggested this particular herd were accustomed to making the downward journey
He said: ‘There were no sign of stress in the elephants, and they even seemed to have some fun doing so, as the youngest ones kept playing around joyfully once in the river bed.’
The herd of 60 elephants took less than 20 minutes to slide down the bank towards the watering hole below
A pair of elephants play around on the banks of the river after sliding down the slope
Shortcut? We’ll take the trunk road! Elephants slide down steep bank to get to watering hole
PUBLISHED: 19:18 GMT, 14 October 2013 These pictures show the hilarious moment a herd of elephants decided to slide down a steep bank to get to their watering hole a little faster.
Rather than risk going down the 50ft bank feet first, the group decided it would be safer to roll down on their sides and stomachs.
All 60 of the giant mammals piled up against each other as they made their way down the slope.