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.
Every time I think back on this trip this will be the stand out moment for me.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Just before the H1-6 I came across more elephants.
They were as relaxed as the elephants from the day before.
Two huge bulls were grazing near the Mooiplaas waterhole.The one had an impressive set of tusks.
Two incredible elephant sightings happened at a water hole just south of Nshawu 3.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.