Elephants as a Christmas present
For Christmas Eve, a visit to Mudumu National Park was on our agenda. Camp Kwando is only about a 10-minute drive from the entrance, and so we set out in the morning, purchased a permit and drove about four hours through the park.
The drivable trails are varied and the guidance along the water is wonderfully solved. The park is too big for one day and as it looks now, we will camp for two days at one of the ‘wild’ campsites, located directly on the river.
To keep it short: we could observe three herds of elephants. At the first one we saw an elephant in the bush, stopped and turned off the engine. There were more and more coming, and they got more and more tiny. In the end, there were an estimated 50 animals – including the very tiny ones – surrounding us.
We were always anxious to assess whether they were still relaxed or whether our presence was noticeably stressing them. We were virtually surrounded and the adult animals and teens were feeding around us, relaxed in the grass and on the trees. The very young ones were about 20 meters away. The matriarch led them sideways past us and then decided to return.
Stress arose and when a bigger gap opened up in front of us, we took the opportunity, started the engine and slowly drove forward and left the group behind. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes the entire group had crossed the road and calm had long since returned.
Our first bathing gray giants!
Afterwards, we met a group of about 20 elephants on the river bank who had just taken a mud bath. Unfortunately, we were 5 minutes too late but as this group peacefully crossed our way, and we moved on, we saw another herd moving towards the river.
We managed to pass behind them and found a suitable spot from which we could watch them cross. They were clearly enjoying the water and some were boisterous and playing with each other. We could watch this for hours. What an incredible game drive.