• info@naturebylennart.com



Before I went to Africa, Elephants didn’t do much for me. Of course the Elephant is a colossal animal with a trunk and tusks and those are all points in its favour, but I just wasn’t feeling very excited about them. The first Elephant I ever saw was a worn out female that was spending the last years of her life in Okavango. Pretty cool of course, to see your first Elephant, but still it didn’t really change my mind about Elephants. Then I watched how they behave together.

Elephants are known as smart animals and you can actually see that! In Etosha in Namibia we encountered a whole group of them. There is a story with that as well. I’ll tell it real quick. On our first day in Etosha we wanted to leave the park at the end of the day. Our route would take us alongside Olifantsbad, a place where Elephants like to come and take a bath together. While we were driving we encountered a van and as it turned out, this van had a flat tire. Not only this, but they had driven on it for eight more kilometres! The wheel now looked like the wheel of a train, the rim was completely worn away. They weren’t so handy with changing tires so we helped them with that. Meanwhile the sun went down.

When we continued our driving it was almost dark. Finally we had almost reached Olifantsbad when we suddenly saw broken off branches and poo lying on the road. Not long after that happened what we had feared for: the road was blocked by elephants. We wanted to quickly turn around, and while we were doing that we heard an elephant very loudly trumpet behind us: let’s get out of here fast! So we had do drive all the way back through the now completely dark national park. We encountered a spotted hyena which was a nice bonus. The the local police had to open the gate of the park to let us out. So altogether an interesting experience with Elephants!

The next day we were able to watch them in all their glory in daylight and we can nicely study their behaviour. The group contains out of a couple of adult animals and also out of smaller ones of different sizes. The adults are bothering themselves a bit with the smaller ones that are bathing in the water. One really tiny Elephant doesn’t dare to go in and stands doubtful near the water while the mother pushes it encouragingly with her trunk. I could watch these animals for hours!

African Bush Elephants

My second memorable experience with Elephants took place in South-Africa in the Pilanesberg park. This park has a couple of large hides right at the edge of lakes. We were in luck that in front of one of those hides there were two elephants playing with each other. It was a strange and interesting sight, often they completely intertwined their trunks, then they walked after each other and were pushing a bit back and forth, of course a lot of splashing was involved! As it went on it turned out to be some kind of mating ritual. They finished with the actual mating. After that we were able to watch them really well as they passed by the hide at a really close distance. Because of the harsh afternoon light, I edited them into black and white.

African Bush Elephants

So the Elephant has become one of my favourite animals! They show a lot of variation in their behaviour and which makes them very entertaining to watch. Sadly the pictures weren’t all that I had hoped for, but they still nicely show the interaction. Hopefully I will have some better ones in the future!

For more from my Africa trip see the links below:

How about my encounter with a Cheetah and a Leopard on the same afternoon!

Or a very nice savannah experience involving a lion, jackals, vultures and Secretarybirds!

I also wrote some posts about the specific birds of Africa: birds of the African swamp, birds of the African garden, birds of the savannah and a hornbill special.

And also some posts about other iconic mammals of Africa: several ungulates and the mammals of the Okavango Delta.

We also enjoyed amazing landscapes like the Okavango, Sossusvlei and Spitzkoppe.


Leave a Reply