Were you to ask a thousand safari enthusiasts to name their favourite animal, some might be attracted by the sultry beauty of a giraffe’s eyes, or entertained by the snorts and comic aesthetic appeal of a hippopotamus, but many the world over would immediately say the elephant. Just like humans, they are clearly family creatures which tend carefully for their young and build complex relationships within the herd. Both strong in stature yet gentle with their footsteps these huge creatures can pick a small flower with the tip of their trunk, or approach so quietly that you don’t realise this immense six ton creature is behind you until you feel its warm breath dampening the back of your neck.
If you want to see big herds of elephant on your safari then the best place to head is to northern Botswana, and the best time to be there is from August to early December which is the long dry season which turns the land a marvellous ochre yellow and bakes the surface to dust causing the elephant herds to congregate around the age old perennial rivers and springs.
It’s fascinating to watch these creatures move slowly yet purposefully through the heat of the day iwith a cloud of dust swelling around their feet. Refreshment is found as they lower their trunks into the rivers quenching their enormous thirsts before wallowing and enjoying cooling mud baths whilst the young bulls played.
A mature male elephant can drink 60 gallons of water a day and if you are fortunate enough to stay at Savuti Camp, you’ll enjoy and enthralling hour or so in a hide built of fallen tree trunks. You’ll be within mud slinging distance so duck as the elephants flick water and mud across their backs in the heat of the day.