For me, nothing quite beats a simple, quiet moment with Africa’s grey giants. If ever asked what my favourite animal is here at Londolozi, I can answer without any hesitation…
Yes, for some people they might not be as beautiful as the leopards or as awe-inspiring as a pride of lions, but almost every moment spent with them fills me with joy and a sense of deep respect.
For those of you who have watched elephants, you would have noticed that they are always doing something. Whether it is bathing themselves in dust, drinking at a waterhole, strolling through open grassland or even just feeding on the top of an open crest, there’s always at least one of them keeping us very entertained. Other than their sheer size and intriguing skin and tusks, watching elephants carry out their ‘tasks’ is much-loved by our guests who come to visit. Their behavioural traits, social structures and characteristics also fascinate me.
One of my favourite ways to spend a game drive is to sit quietly with a breeding herd of elephants around a watering hole. It allows us to switch off the vehicle and just sit and enjoy so many different forms of joy.
As we enter the heart of the dry season we see the congregation of breeding herds and bachelor bulls who flock down to the flowing Sand River. The chances are high that during your delicious lunch on the deck at any of the five camps you will be accompanied by large herds of elephants feeding and drinking in the river below. We are often spoilt on both morning and afternoon game drives with elephant sightings, with herds sometimes thirty strong. Tiny calves and playful teenagers allow for hours of entertainment and are by far, my favourite.
I encourage you to spend as much time with elephants as you can. Take in all their behaviours and actions. Notice what they are doing and why they are doing it. The little bits of behavioural differences and character from each member of the herd and all the dynamics and relationships between them make me often compare their behaviour to ours. I believe there is so much we can learn from them.
For me, no encounter is more special and meaningful than that with an elephant. Here at Londolozi, we are fortunate enough to spend time with elephants where we are up close and personal, yet safe. The size, the sounds and the lessons we can take from elephants is something I will never take for granted. If you are lucky enough to sit in and amongst a herd of these gentle giants, enjoy and take in every moment with them. Have you had a special encounter with an elephant? Let us know in the comments below…