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Elephants everywhere oh my

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Published: June 21st 2017

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According to the Zambia calendar, today was National Farmers Day and there would be some celebration in Mfuwe but at the camp it was elephant day. Last year when we were here, there were many days when we had elephants around and many nights when there were elephants. Part of the reason was the mangoes were ripe and they were coming to eat.

This year there seemed to be quite a few elephants in the area. Conrad had been putting water into the lagoon between the campground and the Barefoot camp and this was attracting some elephants to our viewing pleasure. The problem for the campground was when they decided to move through to get back down to the river and cross back into the park.

That morning when we got up and had our coffee we heard there were elephants at the lagoon and went over there and sure enough there were seven drinking water. Nice. We decided to go on our walk and as we were leaving the area by reception Herman hollared at us to watch out, there were elephants everywhere. Sure enough they were by the lagoon at the chalets and so we headed back to the

campground.

The elephants kept coming around our end of the campground all morning. They would be at the waterhole and then move on and another group would come up. For the most part in the morning they seemed content to just drink and then move off but then things got interesting.

We had lunch and had our nap and when I woke up, Robert was not around and I got up and saw that the elephants were in the area by the waterhole and in the path between the Barefoot camp and campground and down near the river and over by the ablution block.

I got my camera and was watching the scene. The children in the camp next to us were not being very closely supervised and kept running over to the ablutions and then back. Worried this could upset the elephants as one of them was a mother elephant with her young.

Robert finally appeared. He had been getting some great shots of the elephants from inside the ablution block where he was protected. The elephants would move forward and then move back and did not seem to know what they should do.

Then another overland truck arrives. There were several people

on the truck that were going to be staying in the Barefoot camp and started to go over there only to be stopped by the elephants. It is amazing to see how many people think it is OK to approach elephants. Finally Conrad came over and enlisted the gardeners to help him move the elephants off. They did this by clapping their hands and speaking and shouting in authoritative voices! Boo joined in by charging them and being false charged in return. Finally things calmed down for awhile.

Then more elephants started crossing from the park side over to the camp. The group tried one place and turned around and then crossed near the Barefoot camp and came up and then moved on out.

The rest of the evening was quiet from our point of view but the family from the Netherlands had the elephants come back right up to the front of their tent and nose around with their trunk and break down their clothesline. A little too much excitement for mom and they moved on the next day.

To sum up observations of people on this day. People seem to not pay attention to the fact these are wild animals and

to be treated with caution and respect. The gardeners and staff when they were around would try to caution people about getting too close but some people just did what they pleased.

Being able to be this close to elephants was an awesome experience and there were a few times when I was a little nervous about being too close to their space but seeing them up close and personal was one of those experiences that make coming back to Africa what we want to do!


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