Snapshot – Elephant Sands

Those who have read my posts from last year will have picked up that I have an affinity for Africa, particularly the Southern African countries like South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. In fact, I shall be returning again to South Africa in a few months time with my friend Geraint for a most epic safari (feel free to hit the link & check out his blog!). But today’s A-Z Challenge post is taking us back to Botswana, specifically to the north-eastern section of the country and a safari lodge called Elephant Sands. I was fortunate enough to spend one night there in 2013 and it was, in a word, memorable.

We arrived at Elephant Sands around the middle of the day, bouncing down the dirt tracks of this 16000 hectare private conservancy. Arriving at the lodge, there’s a main building which houses reception, the dining room & bar, swimming pool and a large sunken fire pit. Directly in front of us is a substantial waterhole, and already there is a herd of elephants meandering around it’s limited resources. Surrounding the waterhole, and back behind the main building, is the accommodation. Spacious huts with a blend of earthen and canvas walls, thatched roofs, and a somewhat open shower area. Or for those so inclined there’s a campsite if you prefer tents. After settling into my hut, I opt to sit by the bar and watch the herd. As I sip my Amarula, a large elephant makes his way towards me and stands, staring, from only metres away. At that point in my African travels, this was the closest I’d been to one of these magnificent beasts.

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The herd hanging around the waterhole
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Almost reaching right up to the swimming pool & fire pit!
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Who’s watching who?
Moving to our dining room later that evening, the herd still milling around, we are told that the elephants have become unsettled and broken some waterpipes connected to the huts on the opposite side from mine. Apparently the large water tanker that arrived to refill the waterhole has a broken pump and the elephants are getting restless as they sense the liquid nearby. Just as the dessert of Malva Pudding (my favourite!) is being served up, a commotion erupts behind me. One of the large bulls is going after the water tanker! The staff at the lodge quickly rally their vehicles and with bright lights and revving engines they gently coax the bull to back away from the tanker. Moving from the dining area, I take some time to reflect around the fire pit. It’s situated lower than the rest of the main building and has a signpost a few metres from me saying “Do Not Cross”. As I watch, an elephant steps his front feet into the fire pit, wraps his trunk around the sign and rips it off!

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Sitting in the fire pit. The sign has just been torn down, leaving a lone white post!
Thinking I’ve already been spoiled for wildlife, I retire to my hut for the night. Torch and water bottle on the bedside, I settle down. Some time during the night, I’m awoken by a tapping and scrapping sound. Out of the blue, the canvas by my bedside moves and the water bottles fly across the room. The loud scratching sound is right above my head and I’ve just realised it must be the herd! Scratching their bulk against my thatched roof! Come morning, I venture outside and see my entire hut is surrounded by the large, mottled-looking prints from elephant feet. I think it would be fair to say that this one night at Elephant Sands is one to remember for a lifetime.

This post is part of my contribution to the April 2017 A-Z Challenge

Click Here for a list and links to my other challenge posts.

And if you’re interested in revisiting my post for the 2016 challenge for E, here’s the link: Snapshot – Ephesus

2017 Badge

 

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39 thoughts on “Snapshot – Elephant Sands”

    1. Thanks, Marquessa. It’s an amazing continent, I could talk about it all day (and often do!). Ger & I have a pretty incredible safari coming up in August, so stay tuned for a lot more Africa posts after that! πŸ˜€

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    1. Thanks, Radhika! The Masai Mara would be amazing. I would love to see both Tanzania & Kenya, maybe Rwanda too. It’s a such big world out there though – the mind & body are willing but finding the time & money is always a challenge πŸ˜€

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  1. Wow! Absolutely wonderful! I find this really fascinating. I really liked your pictures. Safari camps must have been an awesome experience. As I read your post I quickly headed to google to look at more pictures of Elephant sand and I am in love with this destination!
    Wish you a wonderful time in your upcoming adventure. πŸ™‚
    Cheers!

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    1. Thanks so much, Karnika. I’m so glad you enjoyed it & have had a look at Elephants Sands online. It’s an incredible place, I hope you get to visit it one day. And thank you, I’m sure the upcoming safari will be amazing πŸ˜€

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    1. I have actually, Andy! Not with the big African elephant though but I got up close & hands on with the smaller Asian elephant at a conservation centre in Lampang (Thailand). I’ll be looking forward to reading about your adventures in China.

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      1. I think elephant trunks are really creepy because they just move and move! Thanks, there are more to come for sure. This China travel bug has gotten me mad for exploring!

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    1. The adrenalin was definitely pumping at the time, Liesbet. But I was well aware that getting out of bed and grabbing a torch to have a look would’ve been a bad idea! I hope you get to experience an African safari one day. It is an awesome feeling to be so close to these magnificent wild animals, but the peace and tranquility of the bush is just as amazing. I can’t wait to return!

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    1. Thanks, Miss Andi! It was mind blowing to be honest. I’ll certainly never forget it. And yes, I’ve seen Geraint’s post. He and I have been good friends for a few years, we did a safari together in 2015 and are heading off on another safari together in August this year. Between the two of us you’ll be swamped with African posts!! πŸ˜€

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  2. Great post! I’m a bit biased in favor of elephants. 😊 See so many of them at one time during our Chobe River Boat Safari (post on foodtraveltour.com) was awesome. There are some on the road between Nata and Kasane, too. But, not as up close and personal as your experience. Magnificent is perfect. A bit scary at night but the lodge would surely not place guests at risk so just the right excitement. 😊 Your photographs are amazing!

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      1. My pleasure. I’m going to have to go back to your older posts later. I had enjoyed the ones I’ve read so far and I’d like more. 😊 I feel you about Dubai but yes, I’ll have to go there on purpose not as a stop or stay for at least a 3 days on the way to Asia. As you said, can’t be to Europe… but maybe. 😝 I want to see Switzerland in snow. Thank you so much, Kim.

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      2. I just had a quick look back through your blog … I think I’m going to really enjoy catching up with all those amazing travel posts! I find snow a bit fascinating too – I think when you live in a city that never gets snow, it sparks your child-like sense of curiosity πŸ˜€ Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Anne!

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      3. Feels like kindred spirits… πŸ’– Thank you. Yeah, Australia and South Africa. We’re almost the same country, too. πŸ˜† We won’t talk about rugby. You have a wonderful weekend, too. πŸ€—

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      4. Absolutely pleased about our paths crossing for sure. πŸ™‚ We might just plan to take a trip down under one day, too. We are so far from each other yet South Africans keep running away to you. Lol!

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      5. Australia is huge so I guess it involves a lot of local traveling. Same with South Africa… fortunately, we, South Africans, seem to love driving. It’s actually such a beautiful country and I feel sad when I think of the bad things and/or experiences that ‘chase’ people out of the country.
        I’m looking forward to the posts.
        Hugs xxx

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