February 28th, 2020

Guide's Eye: Elephants in the Delta

Written by:

Toby Pheasant


Guides Eye


A guide’s job is to help you understand what you are seeing in the wild, effectively telling you the story of the bush. 

When training to be a guide, a great technique to help you with taking a sighting is to look at a random photo that you have never seen before, and then interpret what you see, weaving it all into a story.

Here’s our attempt. If you fancy having a go we’d love to hear any of your thoughts.

Elephants moving through the Delta

Before you even see these wonderful creatures, you will hear the loud shrieks of joy as they rumble through the grasses excited for their late afternoon drink and swim. Elephants love mucking about in the water.

In this image you can see how a small family group of elephants probably led by the largest female in the group (the matriarch), are enjoying a quenching drink of water. Can you see how the little one in the middle is completely soaked, and the one drinking is wet up to its stomach? In fact I think there might even be an even smaller one behind the wet little one. These youngsters have clearly been having a great time, rolling around in the water. Judging by the dry legs of the elephant on the far right, they could have walked around the water if they wanted to.

As they play there will be plenty of trumpeting, probably the little one telling its big brother to get off.

Looking at how dry the big adults are, I would say that either these elephants have just arrived at the water or that it is quite a cool day. What elephants will regularly do on hot days, is suck water up through their trunks and then squirt it over their backs in a bid to cool themselves down. They’ll usually do this after they’ve had a nice drink, so I think that there’s a good chance the lucky people in the dug-out canoe are in for a real treat.

As their thirsts are quenched (adult elephants drink 200 litres of water a day on average), the matriarch will let out a low rumble, sometimes inaudible to the human ear, which will signify time to move on.

After a sighting like this, if we were in that canoe, I’d say we should probably head off for a thirst-quenching sundowner ourselves.

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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