About the Author

Barry Bath

Guest contributor

Barry grew up in Johannesburg and knew from a young age that he had a true love for the African bush yet it was only after spending several years in the corporate world in Europe, followed by a two year sabbatical of traveling ...

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on Echoes of Giants: The Intricate Language of Elephants

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Barry, thank you for the information about elephant communication. Communication is the life blood of any species survival over a Long period of time. Understanding that communication allows us insight into their world and a deeper appreciation of their individual lives.

Great blog on Elephant language, Barry!
Watching elephants is so wonderful, especially when they ar in a big herd with lots of communication going on.
Once three youngish elephant bulls trumpeted in front of my cabin kind of announcing their presence. When I came out to investigate they were having so much fun using the pool in front of the cabin, drinking, fooling around with the water as if they wanted to show off. After they had their fun ( and I mine) they turned round and went to some bushes to feed. Elephants are such amazing animals.

Master Tracker

Lovely article, it was a joy to read and it brought back so many memories.

Hi, very true, I also strongly advise to read Among the Elephants by Ian Douglas-Hamilton, introduced by Niko Timbergen. Although an old book it’s extremely accurate and his daughter, Saba Douglas-Hamilton, is operating as well in Kenya. She also witnessed the appalling story of the lioness called Kamunyak, who adopted several oryx calves before disappearing. She tried to save them even from a male lion, who, of course, ate the calf. She is one of the greatest witness of prey-predator odd interactions…

Thanks Barry, I guess you guys and the trackers are already very adept at interpreting their language. Your understanding allows us guests to just sit back and enjoy being surrounded by a breeding herd grazing within touching distance of the vehicle….an amazing experience I’ll never tire of!

Ellies are amazing. Visited Sheldrick Trust in Nairobi and follow their blogs and they have talked about the same findings as Joyce. They are highly intelligent and emotional animals. I could hang with them all day! You are so lucky!

Hi Barry, thanks for this vital information about the elephant communication system. The gentle giants fascinate me and the way they go along their daily activities with the herd. Rumbling noises within the herd and trumpeting from the juniors seemingly amuse us. They are very touchy mammals and like to be near each other, the family stick together. Ear flapping seems to be agitation as also the foot swinging. They certainly do have an intricate language and communication system among each others, and between herds.

Thanks for delving into the fascinating world of elephants whilst looking for reasons behind their trumpeting and personal interactions. Joyce Poole is certainly one of the foremost researchers in studying elephants.
I love spending time with them, some of my favorite moments include the little ones trying to make themselves big by trumpeting, flapping their ears and racing up to the vehicle before turning around and running back to mom. Even though I don’t live amongst these gentle giants, I’ve read several books about them and have been fortunate to spend hours watching them in their forest habitat as well as their time spent drinking and playing in the Chobe River whilst in Botswana. Looking forward to spending more time with them in South Africa later year.


Every time I read a blog post, I become more enamored with all that a safari has to offer. It is so much more than anything I could have imagined before actually being at Londolozi.

Every time I read a blog post, I become more enamored with all that being on safari entails. Thanks for sharing, Barry! Can’t wait to be back in a few months.

Senior Digital Ranger

Loved this piece, Barry! Elephants are the most complex creatures to learn about. Their whole family/herd dynamic is fascinating.

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