"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Friday, July 13, 2018

The 2018 Africa Journals, Ch. 4: Elephants Not Only Never Forget, They Pay You Back

Back at Kirkman’s Kamp, we four spend the time  between the end of the morning safari and the mid-afternoon safari in our rooms.   We have photos to download to computers and batteries to recharge.

Someone, I forget who, tells us there’s an elephant in front of Laura’s room, which is the next bungalow beyond ours.   I grab my camera, go out the French doors, and see a teen-aged bull munching vegetation and Laura on her deck taking photos.

I work my way closer to Laura’s room.   I am well aware of how unpredictable teenage bulls are.   They have left the females in the herd and have yet to join the bachelor males who are supposed to teach them manners.   Thus, they are on their own, with no supervision.

Hey!   It isn't the camera exposure you should be concerned with!



When the elephant chomps its way towards our room, I retreat to the bungalow.   Marg, whose room adjoins our, is on her front deck; Holly and I are on ours.   I set down my camera and go into our room to get my camera with the shorter lens.

When I return to the French doors, Holly is standing just outside.   I’m standing in the doorway and ask if she wants in.

“No,” she responds, but almost immediately starts backing into the room with great determination.

The ellie is quite near and flaring its ears.   Marg spots my camera on the table, grabs it, and backs into her room, taking photos the whole time.

The ellie spots Marg inside her room and throws dirt at her with his trunk.    Holly slams our doors closed.

So close that Marg caught the scallop roof trim in this photo.

With a look that I interpret as, “Ha, ha!   Scared you, you puny humans,” the ellie saunters up the row of bungalows, in the direction of the main lodge where people are eating lunch or just hanging out.  


It stops to nibble on the potted ferns and other landscaping.

When it nears the main lodge, it crosses to the front and begins to eat a tree.  By this time, keeping the bungalows between the ellie and me, I’m now the main lodge.  And stuck. 

I relate to one of the staffers how the elephant chased us back into our rooms and threw dirt at Marg.

“Yes, he comes here often,” she says.  “He’s a naughty boy.”

Some of the rangers and trackers try to shoo the ellie away and it trumpets its annoyance.   On its own time and at its own pace, it does walk farther away.

In the meantime, a safari vehicle is brought into camp and used to transport us back to our rooms, if we wish.


That night, in the wee hours of dark, Holly lies in bed trying to quell her anxiety about the noises immediately outside our room.   She listens to the cracking and crashing and expects the roof of our bungalow to collapse at any moment .

She is prepared to yell at me to join her in taking cover in the old-fashioned claw foot bathtub.

On the other side of the room, the side nearest the commotion, I am asleep, blissfully unaware of the danger that not-very-subtly lurks outside.

A final, extremely loud crack and crash and the disturbances cease.  Holly eventually goes back to a fitful sleep.   I never wake up until it’s time to, which is quite soon.   Holly, still upset, relates all that happened.

Flashlights reveal that apparently Naughty Boy elephant has returned for payback after being chased away earlier yesterday.  

A pile of dung is so near the bungalow that I cannot imagine how an elephant could have passed so closely and not knocked down the posts that support the roof overhang.   Adjacent to that is evidence that a tree has lost a branch or two.

The pile of dung Naught Boy left.

When we returned from our morning drive, the dung had been cleaned up.   It was where the dark spot is, just above the sun flares in the photo.

Slightly farther from the bungalow, an entire tree is uprooted and lying on the ground.

We are escorted to the main lodge, still in the dark, for our pre-safari tea and biscuits.  The large tree surrounded by the dining pavilion has had pachyderm help in shedding pieces of branches and many, many leaves.   

And all evidence that a tree once grew here was eliminated.

More photos from the Sabi Sands Game Reserve: 

A beautiful male nyala.

Blogspot is doing weird things this morning so I can't caption this photo of a rhinoceros mum and her baby.


  1. What an experience!! Thankfully, excitement and apprehension were the prevalent emotions. No one was hurt other than Marg who was the target of ellie's sand toss.

  2. I agree that the young bull elephant does seem to be saying Ha Ha as he walks by. He looks very cocky as teenagers tend to be.

    Also, I really like the pictures of you with your camera.

  3. Quite a shot of the hippo butts too!!!!!

  4. Hmmm, I think it would be a bit unnerving to wonder if an elephant was going to knock down part of my bedroom. Those teenagers can be pretty aggressive sometimes in wanting to do just what they want to do! Great pictures ... up close! Hugs. Patti and Cap

  5. Wow! Exciting adventure for sure!