AN ELEPHANT DREAM COME TRUE
One of the requests I received from my guests while doing an orientation on their first afternoon was a herd of elephants and so we planned to spend one of our game drives up in the north of the reserve to search for them.
Elephants tend to come down to the water to drink in the late afternoons and due to the thick vegetation I decided an afternoon drive in that area would be best, hoping to see them in the clearing around the water. We left early that afternoon as the drive up to the north is very long and we wanted as much time as possible to be able to spend with them before the sunset.
When we got into the area we started driving around the blocks of land looking for fresh tracks or signs of the elephants so we could know where they were heading, but because of the strong wind we found nothing. The elephants had moved into the thick areas and were not moving around as they were trying to avoid the windy conditions. We just kept trying and trying.
I could see that the guests were starting to lose hope as we only had about an hour before sunset. I switched off my vehicle, absolutely desperate for some sign, and just then we heard the tummy rumbling of one of the females not far off into the woodland. Yes, this was what we had been hoping for!
While I was explaining that that is the noise that elephants use to keep in contact with each other a large bull with only one tusk walked out onto the road and started ambling towards us. He did not seem perturbed by our presence and headed in the direction of the water. One of my guests started crying from joy as this magnificent creature was what she had been dreaming of seeing her whole life.
We watched as he walked silently for about 10 minutes and then left him and returned to the area we had heard the herd. We all sat waiting in anticipation. It wasn;t long before we saw them, a whole herd of over 26 elephants came parading through the bush. There were babies as well as teenagers and then of course the adults. They moved along with the pink glow of the setting sun behind them, a perfect scene.
We looped around to the water hole where we met up with the large bull again, and watched as the herd ran down to the water to drink. Wow, we could not have asked for any better! The elephants drank and walked into the middle of the watering hole, cooling their bodies after a long hot day.
Posted: Phinda by Felicity Swanepoel, Date: 15 September 2010