Elephant Totos Playing Up

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These photos are from our last trip to the Maasai Mara before we left Kenya – this after nearly eight years as ‘displaced persons’. It was late December and our family from the UK had come out to join us in millennium celebrations. Everywhere there was talk of the ‘dreaded bug’ – mass panic of how on the stroke of midnight New Year’s Eve 1999 all world intercommunications and computer functions would be scuppered. At such times one definitely knew there was more common sense to found among animal kind than with humanity.

We had left camp on an early morning game drive. Dan our driver-guide had brought a picnic breakfast of mammoth proportions and it was he who decided to stop the truck and break into the hard boiled eggs and pastries just as a large herd of elephants was passing by.  They came so softly, footfalls ever muffled by the large cushions of fat that elephants have in their heels. You could smell them though – the musky, muddy smell that is like nothing else. The adults seemed to be moving as one, a measured ambling pace with no deviation. Only the children weren’t quite coming to heel.

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For most of the year female elephants and young live in small matriarchal groups while the adult males pursue a separate existence in their own loose-knit herds. But come the rainy season, all these small groups may gather into a single large herd as they set out looking for fresh vegetation.

They couldn’t have cared less about us; gave not one sign that they had even registered our presence. Later, as it was going dark and we were returning to camp, we met the herd again. Dan stopped the truck and the herd moved around us, close enough to touch. They moved like shadow-ships through the Mara twilight. At such moments you tend to find that you’ve forgotten to breathe.

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Square Up #14

24 thoughts on “Elephant Totos Playing Up

  1. Glorious! My husband worked all night that New Years Eve because if the worst had happened, it would have been catastrophic. It was a good payday and since little happened, it was great. 😉

  2. I can easily imagine forgetting to breathe in the midst of an elephant herd. I sometimes feel like that when it’s just a flock of Goldfinch, so with elephants, I might simply stop breathing in total joy of the moment.

  3. what an extraordinary experience, and felt like we are there with you thanks to your lovely photos and wonderful descriptions. Thank you Tish, you have really cheered me up this morning with this superb post

  4. Wow! What an amazing experience. I have no doubt I too would have forgotten to breathe. So humbling and exciting all at once. Thank you for taking me there even a little bit.
    Alison

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