Much as been made of the hard grounds, altitude problems and the intensity with which the South Africans embrace their rugby and Elsom has told the Lions to expect the unexpected during their time in the Republic.
"They've got a very strong squad the Lions but there's a possibility to get waylaid down in South Africa because it's so different to what they've experienced," said Elsom.
"Even for us as Australians, we go down there seven or eight times a year, and things still surprise you. You still get shocked at certain times."
Having spent the season playing alongside 2009 Lions Brian O'Driscoll, Luke Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney at Leinster, Elsom knows that the tourists have the potential to cause an upset against the Springboks but he is also acutely aware of the strengths possessed by the current world champions.
Named man-of-the-match in last Saturday's Heineken Cup Final, Elsom is renowned for his own power around the park but he admits that the combined might of the Springbok forwards is another matter altogether.
"You can't underestimate the power of that Springbok pack," added Elsom.
"The feeling about it is that you obviously come up against physical packs but when you're at Ellis Park (now Coca Cola Park in Johannesburg) when they're on a roll, it's a totally different task.
"It's definitely not too much to ask (for the Lions to win the series) but whether or not they can do it is different. If they can manage to all get on the same page that'd be an effort."