My trip could not have started better when I saw my first elephants as I approached Sable dam. It was a small herd, almost on the road. They seemed relaxed and I took the chance of parking next to them for some close up photos. The female elephant closest to the road had the most incredible eyes.ElephantElephant

When I looked into her eyes I was lost. The moment only lasted a short few seconds, but it was profound. She was gentle and relaxed and wonderful.Elephant

Every time I think back on this trip this will be the stand out moment for me.

She lifted her trunk towards me. It was a very different view of an elephant’s trunk.Elephant

On the way to Mopani I saw an elephant on the tar road and realised that the roadblock would last a while. There was a fellow Askari on the other side of the road. This large bull was grazing peacefully.Elephant

As huge as these elephants are, they can be so relaxed and gentle. I would spend time with elephants many times during this trip, and get really close to them. And without exception I would think “WOW”.Elephant

While I (and quite a few cars coming from the opposite side) waited for the road block to move, I was able to enjoy the other one. I find the trunk of an elephant completely fascinating. It is incredible how they can pick up and maneuver even the smallest item.Elephant  Elephant   Elephant

The roadblock moved to the side of the road.Elephant

He seemed relaxed, but I decided to give it a few more minutes to see if he would take a few more steps away from the road. Another car approached from the opposite side, and when the elephant turned to see who it was, I used the opportunity to sneak past.

I could not believe how many elephant bulls I saw on the way to Mopani. There was one or 2 every few kilometers. I did not complain.

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I also saw a small herd in a river bed.Elephant

Just before the H1-6 I came across more elephants.

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There were more elephants before the end of the day.Elephant Elephant

If I wondered if the elephant magic from the previous day was to good to be true, I need not have worried.Elephant

There was a small breeding herd with adorable little ones.Elephant Elephant

They were as relaxed as the elephants from the day before.

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I was astonished to see this elephant that was soaking wet with mud in a Park that was bone dry. I realised that even if it looked terribly dry, there had to be water somewhere.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

Two huge bulls were grazing near the Mooiplaas waterhole.The one had an impressive set of tusks.

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There are few things as cute as young elephants.Elephant

The young elephants are adorable, few things compare to spending time with a gentle adult. This one was so close I could not get much more than his head in the frame.ElephantElephant

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Two incredible elephant sightings happened at a water hole just south of Nshawu 3.

I went looking for the lions, but didn’t find them. I arrived at the waterhole and found a herd of elephants having a drink. My attention was immediately drawn to the cutest little Tinyfant.Elephant

Unfortunately some of the herd started moving off just after I arrived and this little one and his mom went with them.ElephantElephant

There were many more elephants at the waterhole. I decided that this was the perfect place to sit for a while.Elephant

The elephants were not the only animals interested in a drink. But they had to wait patiently until the elephants were finished. ElephantElephant

There were a few more young elephants. Young elephants always look so happy.ElephantElephant   Elephant

Another young elephant had a floppy ear.Elephant

I felt sorry for the little dude, but when he turned his head he just stole my heart with that smile.Elephant Elephant

Later that afternoon I had to decide what to do for my last afternoon drive. I did not want to drive to far, and decided that this waterhole was a good destination. It was a good idea, because there were more elephants. I enjoyed a cold beverage while my camera shutter worked overtime. But I also just sat quietly and enjoyed being with them in the moment and the perfect light.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

One of the things I love most about elephants is the fact that they are so affectionate and loving towards each other. When you watch them in a herd, you notice that they often reach out to each other with their trunks. When they huddle together, their bodies are always touching. These three were no different.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

The smallest of the three elephants had those wonderful golden brown eyes. They were even more striking in the golden afternoon light.Elephant Elephant Elephant   Elephant

I don’t know how long I stayed there. I knew that I did not want to leave them. But it was getting late and I still had a few more kilometers to go to get back to camp. After a last few moments I reluctantly tore myself away from this wonderful encounter.Elephant Elephant   Elephant

I was sad to leave them, but I need not have worried that that would be the last elephant encounter for the day. At the confluence look out a herd of elephants was drinking water that they were digging up in the sand. I found it interesting that they were all drinking water from the holes in the sand and not from the river.

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Then I noticed a familiar youngster – Floppy Ear! I was amazed – I could not believe the elephants had walked this far from where I’d seen them just before lunch.Elephant

It was 30 minutes before gate closing time, and I headed to Tsendze. I spotted more elephants right next to the road. I took a few photos of this beautiful girl.Elephant

Then I realised who she was – she belonged to the same herd as Floppy ear. And the reason I knew this is because she had someone with her.Elephant

This little one was so cute, it felt as if my body was melting into a puddle of happiness.ElephantElephant   Elephant

They crossed the road behind my car.Elephant Elephant

I had seen more elephants during this trip than I could have hoped for. Everything I had hoped for in terms of elephant sightings came true, and then some. A perfect trip.

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