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.
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!
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