The month of July will be dedicated the largest of our many diverse mammals – Loxidonta Africana – The African Elephant
Simply put, they are everywhere.
We have not had rain since April, even then the rainy season provided us with little rain. This has meant that all the water holes all around Zarafa and the Selinda Reserve have dried up. The ground is just baked and dusty. The only place left to drink is the permanent waters around our camps, in and around the large Zibadianja lagoon. We always have good elephants numbers, they are a common site in this area. This season though the numbers have just exploded. As a camp manager it has become very interesting planning our days, even making sure that we have plenty time to make it to the airstrip on time, the “traffic” on the way can really cause delays. The most fun we have with these giants has been in the camp itself. Regular visitors come and keep us company, often large bulls, who dominate the pathways…you have to remember the definitely have right of way.
We have just had Dereck and Beverley Joubert in the camp. They have been discussing their delight at seeing so many Elephants. When they took over the lease of the reserve in 2006 they both recounted how nervous the animals as there was still hunting in the area. In six years the transformation has been considerable. The elephants are calm, relaxed an in great numbers. This is going to be such a treat for all our visitors this season but good news for years to come. Below are some fun facts on the largest living land animals on this planet.
July not only provided amazing Elephant sightings but kept out guides busy with: wild dog puppies, huge herds of buffalo, regular leopard sightings – one catching a squirrel in a tree, the selinda lion pride walking through camp, occasional cheetah – one very near camp, regular hyaena, roan, eland, sable, honey badger. This just keeps coming. July was really a peak peak month. Wait until you read Augusts newsletter! In the meantime follow us on our dispatches for more regular updates:
SOME FACTS ABOUT…
Weight 3.000 to 6.000 kg. After eating their daily amount of +/- 300 kg vegitation
1) Do you know when elephants trumpet?
We hear them coming! When the elephants approach our camp, breaking their way through the trees to get to the water, they trumpet. With a Zarafachino in one hand and a home made cantuchinni in the other we are sitting front row at the greatest show on earth. Drinking, bathing and playing elephants, right from the deck of your luxourious tent.
The trumpet is only one of a comprehensive list of audible vocal signals given by elephants. It appears to express a heightened state of stress or excitement. It sometimes portays feelings of fear or anger, but it can also express excitement in social interactions, when approaching water after a long walk, or at play. Trumpeting occurs when air is forced so violently through the trunk that it starts to resonate, the sound being amplified by the long tunnels in the trunk. The same type of noise is created when you blow your nose hard. If only our tunnels (nostrils) were as long as an elephants…
2) Did you know that both male and female elephants have tusks…
It’s getting dryer and dryer and more and more elephants are coming. Alone or with a whole breeding herd, stripping of the last leaves with their trunk and breaking branches or whole trees with their big head and tusks.
The tusks of male elephants are generally a lot bulkier, but those of females are a lot longer, although quite slender. Elephants are one of the few animals that continue to grow through their lifetimes. The males, although generally reaching a plateau in terms of height, continue to increase in bulk. The foreheads of mature males tend to be more rounded when seen in profile compared to the angular forehead of females. Females tend to be bulkier around the ‘hip’ area. The spine in the lumbar region of females is fairly flat and not as prominently raised as with the males, giving it a sway back appearance.
3) Did you know that elephants ‘talk’ in their sleep…
Last month when walking home after an intimate diner under the stars at Zarafa we heard some strange sounds. We shined our torch around and saw an elephant lying down. His legs moved like he was walking, his trunk reached like it was digging and he made all sorts of deep noices. He was dreaming!
Elephants can doze lightly while on their feet, but lie down in order to sleep soundly. They will spend a few hours every night lying down and sleeping soundly, some prone to bouts of snoring and dreaming during which they make vocalisations. The hours spent sleeping are not continuous, being broken by bouts of feeding and ablutions.
Text and photos: Willem Bakhuys Roozeboom
Source of information: Beat about the Bush, by Trevor Carnaby
Tags: Botswana, Botswana Luxury Safari, Botswana Safari, cheetah, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, elephant, Elephants, Great Plains Conservation, leopard, Leopards, lions, Okavango Delta, Selinda Camp, Selinda Reserve, The Last Lions, wildlife, Zarafa, Zarafa Camp
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 at 8:08 pm
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