So I have to say, I seem to be an elephant magnet. From the moment I entered the park I kept encountering elephants (when I drove in the gate they said no one had spotted one yet that day). One thing about elephants is that although they are capable of great speed, they generally move pretty slowly (they have lots of time on their hands), so you need to be patient. At one point I was watching one elephant eating his lunch, and then suddenly three more came over the hill, then five more. They just kept coming and moving around me (in my car). Eventually I was surround by a herd of about 25 elephants. They were a bunch of goofballs, stealing food out of each other's mouths, pushing each other around. I was a little nervous that someone was going to get knocked right into my car. One of my favorite African sayings is: "When the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." This first clip shows a juvenile sharing food with it's mother, then a little rough housing between adolescents, some babies, and then an adult giving me the eye. (Unfortunately it was windy and the sound is bad).
I have lots of footage, too much to upload, but this second clip is pretty good. This young bull just came out of nowhere and started walking down the road. I love the way they walk, they know they are the coolest thing. I just let the car roll in neutral for a while while we checked each other out. I feel we had a moment of connection.
I finally went to a game preserve yesterday (Addo National park). Contrary to popular belief, township students do not live with lions and elephants in their backyards. Most of my students have never seen these animals. Nonetheless, the park is actually only 25 kilometers from Sandisulwazi school, where I have been teaching.