Elephants on the plains

Grumeti | March 2020

Nature can offer unequivocal experiences, each one unique and special in its own way. Watching a herd of elephants roll across the open grasslands, towards the waterhole to quench their thirst and swim, is absolutely magical. These are one of these moments that nature has to offer that simply blows you away.

Initially the animals bunch a little tighter together as they stroll into the open. The youngsters are ushered gently into the centre of the herd whilst the adults hold a protective form. On they surge, through the tall grasses, a little quicker now as to cover open ground and make it to the treeline close to the waterhole.

Then, the excitement builds as the herd nears the water, the animals break formation and begin to relax. Having anticipated the herds movements from afar, you have selected your viewing spot and positioned yourself perfectly. The herd has now arrived, moving gently passed your position. Youngsters jostle with a cheeky manner and tusk each other’s rumps playfully as they go by. One of the elders offers you an inquisitive look and comes a little closer, but quite content that you are no threat, she continues on by in peaceful motion.

Close to water now, the elephants struggle to contain themselves, opening their stride as excited shrieks and trumpets escape from them. Gathering at the water’s edge the elephants drink, two young bulls tussle on the banks whilst another older bull makes his way between the herd and dashes straight into the water.

The hippo move off gently and allow the bull some space but continue to watch as the elephant proceeds to lunge, fully committed, into the water, rolling from left to right, fully submerged, having the time of his life! His excitement appears infectious as others look on, spraying water with their trunks on themselves and one another.

What an incredible display of animal behaviour, from start to finish, the complexities of these creatures’ social structure and thought processes. An amazing time spent with this herd of elephants and may we be privileged to encounter many more just like it because I can assure you, it never gets old!