Where it all began
Here we are in the final week before I go and I can't quite believe it!
Its been best part of 10 years since my first encounter with elephants in Namibia and since then I have been boring friends, family and anyone else who would listen on how I will go back one day and volunteer on a conservation project as well as travel the world.
For those who have not heard it before my first encounter around a water hole at Etosha National Park in Namibia was simply magical. Every animal you could imagine surrounded the water - zebra, springbok, giraffe, rhino...even a lioness and her cubs came down! Such a treat but Etosha saved the best till last and as the sun went down silhouettes of elephants appeared against the pink sky. I can not explain why but nearly everyone in the group had tears in their eyes as we watched the family get closer to the water. It was a beautiful sight. A flock of small birds were also taking a drink at the waterhole and we noticed one of the baby elephants watching them intently from between his mothers legs. Suddenly he ran at them, trumpeting, ears flapping and swinging his trunk, but the noise as the flock took to the sky scared him so much he ran back to hide behind his mum. The birds continued to drink at the waters edge and peace resumed but the baby elephant had different ideas. After taking a moment to compose himself and clearly determined not to be to scared this time we watched as he squared his shoulders and made himself look as big as possible before charging with all his might. The birds again took flight but this time instead of cowering away he trotted around the side of the waterhole, proudly trumpeting and swinging his trunk so the birds would not land again. Hilarious!! From that moment I was hooked!
I am now going back to Namibia and will be volunteering on a conservation project with EHRA (Elephant and Human Relations Aid). The aim is to help reduce conflict between elephants and humans by building protection walls around water points and also monitoring the elephants movements and behaviours whilst out on elephant patrol to flag any problem areas in the future. I hope to learn a lot about tracking and identifying elephants as well as putting myself through the physical test of the building work. I AM SO EXCITED!!!
If you want to find out more on EHRA see below
I'll finish for now on a quick thank you to all the patient listeners and for endulging my obsession with all the elephant cards, books, necklaces, bracelets, pictures, etc over the years. Apologies in advance for the 100s of photos you will see of elephants in return!