Wednesday, March 18, 2009

An African Story!

African elephants are the largest LAND animals on Earth - they are slightly larger than their Asian cousins! The have large ears, that (if you use your imagination!) resemble the African continent. Their large tusks, which belong to both male and female elephant, are used to dig for food and water and also strip the bark from trees. These tusks are the source of valuable ivory and the reason why so many elephants have been poached and killed, depsite the trade being illegal. Female elephants live in family herds with their young, while the adult males prefer to roam on their own.
Having visited the Kruger National Park and the Pilansburg, on many occasions, we have had the pleasure of coming face to face with these magnificent creatures quite often. I remember once when we visited a game reserve in Zimbabwe nearly 10 years ago, we ended up on a road which was really only for 4x4 vehicles. We were travelling in Philip's Audi A4 - not made for off road driving, and we came across a herd of maybe 60 or 70 female elephants accompanied by their young. Now, having a baby elephant is a serious commitment and these Mama's were NOT happy to have visitors! Their ears began to flap and they began making the most horrendous noises. Remember, African elephants are NOT easily domesticated - unlike their Asian relatives! Human intruders were not on their agenda. I have never been so afraid. Being in this impractical vehicle meant that we could not drive very fast. We eventually wormed our way through the herd and got to the other side. Unfortunately the road became really rough and we had no option but to turn around and go back. Philip convinced me that they would have moved on by the time we returned - no way! There they were in full force! We made it through and got safely back to our hotel at the Victoria Falls. Not an experience I would like to go through again!
Another interesting story! One cool, African evening in 1969, our friends Dave and Judy were on their way to a friends wedding in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare in Zimbabwe). It was dark and they were travelling in an old Toyota. All of a sudden, Dave hit into something and found the car rolling over and over until in landed in a grassy ditch on the side of the road. Fortunately they were not injured and between the three of them (they had a friend travelling with them), managed to get the car out of the ditch and back onto the road. They turned around and went back to the closest town - VERY slowly as the car was damaged! They had to replace the "something or other" - I can't remember what it was and went back to the wedding. Although a tad late, they made it in good time and enjoyed themselves! What did they hit? I hear you asking! AN ELEPHANT! What happened to the elephant? Nothing - it just wandered off into the night!

Believe it or not! That is a true story!


Shaun said...

I love these animals. A trip to the Game Reserve would be pointless without a close encounter with the Elephants. It is my mission every time to find them. They really are wonderful creatures !

Avril said...

Interesting!! They are magnificent animals! Great photos! On that road which we have travelled many times, we hit a buck once damaging the car's bonnet and another time a huge kudu jumped right over the bonnet - so close I could the spots on his belly! - but never an elephant - thank goodness!

Pam said...

Once again, I learn something new and interesting everytime I pop over to visit! I love elephants but have only gotten as close as you can in a ZOO. They are so large and beautiful. It's a shame that people still poach them in ths day and age.

Firefly said...

Elephants are absolutely amazing animals. The are super inteligent and so interesting. When I used to tour guide I got to go to Addo Elephant National Park so many and never got tired of seeing elephants. I always got as sxcited as the tourists with me who was seeing them for the first time in their lives.