The south-western grasslands of Londolozi are known for, amongst other things, big herds of buffalo, large dazzles of zebra, the famous ostrich family as well as breathtaking sunsets. However, a recent afternoon game drive there turned up something quite unexpected that had my guests and I completely overwhelmed with joy.
We had set off to that part of the reserve to search for a herd of buffalo that had been seen on the morning game drive, and as we scanned the grasslands in search of them we spotted two elephants quite some distance away. We decided to go a little bit closer to the small herd to get a better look, and as we approached them I noticed that they weren’t feeding as I had initially thought but instead they were investigating this small grey blob in the grass. It became immediately clear that one of them had just given birth and we were the first people to ever see this new little calf.
The mother was incredibly relaxed with our presence and we sat for over an hour watching as she stood over her new-born, gently encouraging it to stand up and take its first steps. It was incredibly moving to watch as she nudged the calf with her trunk and eventually got it up onto its four wobbly legs. The first thing the calf tried to do was nurse, but it could not quite find her mothers teat and fell back down into a heap on the ground. Eventually it was able to muster up enough strength and balance to suckle and after a long feeding session we watched as it took its first steps following the female away from that spot.
Knowing just how intelligent elephants are and seeing first-hand just how close-knit their family groups are made this sighting even more special. After 22 months of pregnancy we got so lucky to see this female on the day she gave birth and to be able to watch the first steps taken by this little thing was certainly something that none of us will ever forget.
Such a precious story. And such good fortune to witness this rare occurrence!
Now that was a “watershed “ moment! Brilliant video and images, especially the last one as I like how the little one was framed by mom. Lucky day for you and guests……
Amazing video! What a sighting. You all were so lucky! Thanks so much for sharing this, James.
Absolutely beautiful, James! What a star you are to get this sequence! Wendy M
Thank you James, how lucky were you! Adorable – and right on cue from Alex’s post on why we’re attracted to the young and cute.
Incredible experience. Amazing, beautiful video.
OMG – that was wonderful!
How absolutely fantastic, baby elephants are so adorable !!! It reminds me of when we saw the birth if an Impala on Xmas day 2016 when we were out with Gregg and Equalizer. Wish we could have seen this one too. Victoria
Lucky you !
I do hope luck (as with the wild dogs and the kill of the Buffalo) will always be at your side ; of course not only on game drive …
Heartwarming video to watch this morning here in the US, much needed after the scary week we’ve had. And how appropriate after yesterday’s blog on cuteness!!
What an incredible and heartwarming sight. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment, James.
Absolutely incredible! What an honor to witness something so magical. Watching any baby animal take their first steps is always inspiring, but watching the multi-ton mother gently nudging her calf to stand when she very well could have crushed it, was very moving. Congratulations to this elephant family.
What amazing footage, the guests who saw that really hit the jackpot. Suspect many rangers have not been as privileged
What an enchanting, moving, probably once in a lifetime experience! Lucky, lucky Londoz guests.
What could possibly be more special and moving than to watch new beginnings. Half way around the world I had the privilege. My heartfelt thanks.
I love seeing the interaction of mama and baby elephant after birth. So lovely to see how gentle she is with new baby. Thanks for the awesomeness James S.
Oh James that was so amazingly moving moment to see her determination to get the little one up. Thank you 🙂
How absolutely fantastic to have stumbled onto this newborn! Thank you for the video.
Amazing indeed! This is what I love about Londolozi- the excitement and mystery each day brings. No other day begins quite the same way as it does settling into a Rover and heading out from the lodges.
Amazing. Thanks for including this on your blog
Just beautiful to see such a young and vulnerable baby, thank you.
Incredible, felt like I was there watching this.
This is so wonderful. I’d love to see a longer video if it’s available 🙂
What a fantastic sighting! I loved your video! They are such beautiful, intelligent an impressive animals!
What an amazing and wonderful experience, James. We wish we were in the truck with you guys on that drive! Best- Ed & Angela
Oh my goodness James, how incredibly special! Never seen such a little ellie, ever – absolutely wonderful
What a wonderful moment to capture on video. It shows the very special bond between mother & calf which is so vital. In recent weeks UK tv has been showing a series on the work of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya and in particular their work with orphaned baby elephants. They work so hard to give these special and often traumatised babies a good start in life and eventually rehabilitate them back into wild. I hope this baby never has to go through that.
Such a privilege!!
That was wonderful. Thank you so very much for sharing this. 🙂