Thursday, October 16, 2014

Elephant Mud Bath

On Monday, we decided to take a “p day” and go on another little excursion. Only about two and a half hours from here is a game reserve called Pilanesberg, not as large as Kruger but still large at 220 square miles. Like many of the game reserves here, it was once farmland, owned mostly by white farmers. Following apartheid in the early 1960’s the land was “expropriated” or in other words, taken away, from the white farmers to make more land available for settlement. That proved difficult because some of the land was still occupied by the native Bakgatla people, so nothing was done with the land until 1970 when it was declared a national park. On just a day trip, we saw only a small part of the park, but we were very, very lucky to catch this elephant family coming to a water hole. At first you can see they are drinking, but soon decide that a mud bath is in order. It’s easy to see the small elephants—maybe three and four years old, but watch carefully and you’ll see a tiny one that must have been born this year. He or she is very timid still, sticking very close to mama but you’ll see him a few times. Elephants are a matriarchal society, with a lead female that rules over the herd. You’ll see that matriarch at the end. Another fun thing to see is near the end as she let’s the youngsters know it’s time to go. When they don’t follow immediately, she turns impatiently and you can almost hear her saying, “I said NOW!” at which time they scamper after her, except the two sparing brothers who will probably hear about it later ☺ Even they hurry after her in just a few minutes. We’ll definitely go to Pilanesberg again.


  1. So fun to see that! Ruby said, "Thank you for showing me the elephants! I loved to where they were playing and I loved the baby one." She also added, "I LOVE YOU!"

  2. That is AMAZING!! How fun that you guys were able to see that! That little baby elephant is almost as cute as Peter ;)