ELEPHANTS UP CLOSE

A distinct advantage of visiting the Addo Elephant National Park is that one can enjoy close encounters with the elephants there. Of course one has to be careful and remain vigilant: they are wild animals after all. Here are four examples of the fascination I find in seeing elephants up close. The first shows a fine set of tusks on an elephant next to the road:

The plant on the right hand side of his trunk is Spekboom (Portulacaria afra), a favourite food of the elephants.

This elephant had just emerged from a mud bath when it walked across the road:

Elephants frequently either have mud baths or splash mud over themselves to protect their skin from insect bites.

Of course it is essential to drink water regularly – even the tiniest trunks get to master this important task:

These elephants were at the Hapoor Waterhole – a favourite meeting place for elephants in the national park.

Lastly, elephants eating:

ELEPHANTS DRINKING

It is time to revisit elephants, I think, and where better to search for pictures than to go through my folders of the Addo Elephant National Park. Elephants are such photogenic creatures that I have endless images of them. In this post I will feature elephants drinking at various waterholes within the park. The first is of a lone elephant at the Peasland waterhole in 2015 – before it was decided to surround it with a rectangular exclusion barrier with electrified strands hanging down so that smaller species of animals would be able to drink without having to compete with elephants. This elephant swished the water around like this for a while before it actually began drinking.

These three elephants are also at Peasland in those early days. You can see that between them they have literally drunk the artificial waterhole dry! There’s not much room for any other animals to have got a show in either.

A small section of a larger herd of elephants are quenching their thirst at the Ngulube waterhole. This mixed family group could easily spend an hour or two there – making it difficult for other animals to reach the water. Note the very small elephant on the left which is drinking from its mother.

At Ghwarrie we see a young elephant in the act of placing a trunk filled with water into its mouth to drink.

Another young elephant, this time at the Hapoor waterhole, has already had its fill of water and is squirting itself all over with the now muddy water – possibly to cool itself. Elephants often drink the clean water first before stirring it up for other activities, such as this.

Lastly, on this short trip, we will stop at Carol’s Rest – now also fitted with a exclusion barrier – where this lone elephant is at least sharing the waterhole with a rather daring warthog!