Friday, 29 April 2011

Unforgettable Elephants

We arrived in Mole so early on Monday that we had 3 full days of delightful experience. I had said to myself before I left home, that if I saw one elephant from a distance I'd be happy. That was achieved before lunch on Monday! On Tuesday morning before the heat broke through, we saw 3 at close quarters during a walking safari. They stood and looked at us for a while and then headed into the pool for a swim.

Our guide led us across an open area and around another pool.  The pools are very small at the moment, but within a few months will cover huge areas of the park once the rains come. We saw Nile Crocodiles lurking below the surface in a very sinister fashion. When we came back round the elephants were out of water and hungry. This one broke off an entire branch of the tree to get to the leaves he fancied. The elephants are black when wet, before they throw dust over themselves.
We learned much from our guide, Adam. These Savannah Elephants use their left tusk for gathering food and the right one for defending themselves. They are more likely to damage the left one with constant foraging, particularly as they eat for about 16 hours a day! Apparently, they are the second fastest mammal after the cheetah and their greatest fear is the Soldier Ant. If one gets inside an elephant's trunk it climbs up and the elephant beat its head incessantly to get rid of it and dies trying.
It was wonderful to see them so close. From a viewing platform by the hotel, we could watch wildlife coming and going across the open space below us. Binoculars and long lenses gave us an advantage here.

The scarcity of water in the dry season means the elephants are drawn to these pools. In the rainy season they have more choice and observers may need to search further to find them.  How lucky were we? More animals tomorrow........

1 comment:

  1. absolutely adore elehants and very envious!!
    off to a 'british' safari shortly, which am really looking forward to but will be nothing like this... love seeing all your photographs