16 Jan 2012 All grown up
A leopard in our midst
The term ‘elephant back safari’ takes on a whole new meaning in the summer months. Plains game such as warthogs, giraffe and antelope are abundant at the moment, so guests are treated to a smorgasbord of viewing from the vantage point of their massive rides. But those lucky enough to be out with us on Friday were treated to something even more spectacular when the groom on the lead elephant spotted a leopard resting beneath a tree.
These cats are notoriously elusive, so to see one hanging out in plain sight was quite something. It eventually got up and wandered off, but not before all the guests were able to get a good look. We’re blessed to be living in a part of the world where such events, while not exactly commonplace, do occur from time to time.
Zindoga gets his own bedroom
Bubi’s three-year-old calf, Zindoga, recently indicated that he is no longer a ‘baby’. Where the older calves have the option to remain behind at the stables and play, the still-dependent babies always join us on safari.
If you think about this from a toddler’s point of view, staying in camp and playing is obviously a lot more appealing than going on a long circular walk with mom and the rest of the herd. Especially if you’re in the process of asserting your independence!
One of the first signs that our youngsters are growing up is when they sneak away from the main herd and return to the stables to be with the elephants that aren’t going on safari. Because the babies often wander off the path to explore their surroundings, we don’t always notice immediately if they’re not with us.
This happened recently when we arrived at the sundowners spot only to discover that Zindoga was nowhere to be seen. We were initially quite concerned as to what Bubi’s reaction would be when she discovered that her calf had done a duck, but I think we underestimate our elephants’ ability to communicate with one another. We certainly worry more than they do!
Arriving back at the stables after the walk, we discovered Zindoga happily engaged in a game of tag with his cousins. The grooms and I breathed a collective sigh of relief, while mom, I suspect, just smiled knowingly.
That night we decided to give Zindoga his own bedroom. He went in happily enough, and all was well until the lights went out, at which point he proceeded to squawk loudly. His stable is right next to his mom’s though, and she must have stuck a reassuring trunk through the bars, because after about five minutes all was quiet again.
Since then we’ve had no problems at all. Every night our ‘big boy’ walks straight into his stable without hesitation. They grow up so fast.
Click here to see more photos of our herd and other goings-on at the lodge.
Until next time,