03 Mar 2011 The mud fight
We set out early one morning, only to be greeted by dark and ominous looking clouds. The first order of business was to hand out ponchos to all the guests. They barely had time to put them on when the heavens opened up, unleashing a torrent of rain that made animals scatter and birds take cover.
Nature has a tendency to be unpredictable, so there are never any guarantees of what one will or won’t see on drive. With this in mind we pressed on, convinced that if there were still any animals lurking about we’d be able to see them through the curtain of rain. It’s called taking an optimistic outlook!
We drove slowly, sliding from one side to another, as the tyres spat up a steady stream of mud. Up and down the tracks we went, intent on achieving our goal of finding at least one good sighting. After all, our guests had travelled from far and wide to visit us, we couldn’t disappoint them!
We arrived at a clearing to find some general game looking decidedly unimpressed with their predicament. Bar the odd shiver and shake to rid themselves of the excess water, the unhappy creatures barely moved.
We forged ahead, tip-toeing along in the slippery mud, and trying our best not to slide too much. After an hour and a half some of the guests decided to call it a morning, so we headed back to camp to drop them off. We were about ten minutes from camp when we came upon a herd of elephants emerging from some thick bush into an open area.
It was a fantastic sight.
The older cows just ambled along, but the youngsters provided us with endless entertainment as they ran this way and that, charging imaginary enemies and ardently defending the herd from these wily attackers that only they could see. And in-between their warrior activities, they chased one another to see who could kick up the most mud and get the dirtiest.
From the other side of the opening a rhino bull unwittingly walked straight into the mayhem. The rowdy youngsters saw this as a challenge and immediately ran at the rhino. He was not amused by the little upstarts however, and showed his displeasure by running in circles (weirdly enough). Back and forth across the open field he went, tossing his head around and bucking (well as much as a rhino can).
All this commotion got the older elephants into frenzy, and they proceeded to take their frustrations out on the poor rhino. They would chase him one way and stand head up high, tail arching, and ears open wide. And if the rhino moved even a muscle they’d come at him again.
In the end some of the elephant cows kept a watchful eye on the rhino, while a silent command was given to the youngsters who immediately disappeared into the thick bush further down the open field. As the elephant herd slipped out of sight, all that was left was the pouring rain and a lone rhino bull standing alone in the middle of the open field.
We headed back to camp, astonished by the mud fight we’d just witnessed.
See you on drive,
The Camp Jabulani Rangers 😉