Our early morning walks are always met with a mixture of excitement and apathy. And I’m not just talking about myself or the grooms when I say this. The elephants are equally distinct when it comes to displaying their character traits, with some being ‘morning people’ and others very clearly not.
It took a few minutes and a fair amount of patience, but eventually the herd was in a straight stripe and ready to go. Still new to the idea of these excursions, Limpopo and Klaserie opted to stay close to Mom (Tokwe) as we left the safety of the stables behind us and set off into the bush.
Little by little their inquisitive natures got the better of them. And before long the pair was running and exploring, straying further and further from the herd as the walk progressed. Displaying the sort of energy that toddlers of all species seem to experience in abundance, Limpopo and Klaserie played tirelessly, blissfully unaware of the fact that danger could be lurking just around the corner.
There are few things in life as entertaining as watching baby elephants at play, but it’s the unexpected moments that are often the funniest and most memorable.
With Klaserie hot on her heels, Limpopo headed straight for a termite mound. Squealing with delight, neither of them had any idea as to what awaited them on the other side.
I noticed an aardvaark (ant-bear) hole on the side of the mound, and watched closely as Limpopo came to a sudden stop in order to investigate further. Using her trunk she set about sniffing and probing the hole.
All of sudden two warthogs burst out of the hole grunting loudly. Limpopo got such a fright that she very nearly fell over. This caused Klaserie to panic and run, which in turn alerted Tokwe to Limpopo’s distress. She immediately came to the rescue of the still whimpering baby elephant. Rumbling softly, she stroked Limpopo with her trunk.
I could almost hear Tokwe’s stern lecture as she comforted her offspring.
Once she’d ascertained that nothing more than Limpopo’s ego had been bruised, Tokwe eased her back towards the rest of the herd with a firm push of the trunk.
For the remainder of the walk both Limpopo and Klaserie remained in line beside their mother, nor daring to wander away for even a second.
Until next time,