It had been a long hard day of travelling the dusty sand tracks of the Makgadikgadi Reserve in Botswana – and we hadn’t seen much wildlife at all! The day began to draw to a close and the setting sun beckoned us back to our campsite where we started a campfire for our evening meal and began settling into our chairs with a long thirst quenching drink in our hands. My close friend Marlet, emerging from her tent, gave a funny little yelp and was strangely (read: very unusual) lost for words – but there was much wild gesticulation as she frantically alerted us to the lumbering presence of a family of elephants moving in closer and closer to our campsite – We had visitors!
You can imagine the scramble as we very quickly abandoned our chairs and drinks. The children were instructed to get up into their rooftop tent and watch as quietly as mice, us adults rummaged for our cameras but for the most part stood in awe of the towering beasts trundling into the clearing, the ground literally trembled underfoot!
This small herd of African elephants had decided that the pods on the camelthorn tree growing closest to our campsite looked the most delicious of all. This means focused effort and a very close encounter of the butting, pushing, shoving #bullying# kind – so close that we could smell them and even hear the rumbling in their stomachs!
The very large matriarch was delegated the task of using all her best efforts to get the ripened pods to fall to the ground whilst the others used their trunks like vacuum cleaners swishing them from side to side picking the pods up off the ground and feeding them into their mouths. Having lived in Africa, this was by no means our first encounter with elephants but it was most certainly our first one so exposed and so vulnerable to these incredible grey giants. How close, well does this photie give you a better idea? Marlet keeps a close eye on our visitors well aware that we are just visitors in their territory!
Two of the people closest to me in the whole world, my handsome hubby and my special friend watch the proceedings in awe. There is nothing like an experience like this to make one aware of how really small and vulnerable we are! I am the snap happy one and as I was merrily clicking away, I became rather bold – looking at the elephant family through the eye of the camera lens distorts things – just a littly bit… until my ordinarily very chilled hubby’s voice filled with alarm made me aware that one unhappy camper was staring me down and flapping his ears – and he was NOT just fanning the breeze!
Spot Mr Grump Grey Giant to the right – a VERY memorable CLOSE encounter – what an incredible cameo moment – what a privelege!