We’re in the full swing of winter in the bushveld, which means our lush velvet vegetation has now become arid and crunchy. During the winter, water sources dwindle which means wildlife congregates at waterholes and tend seek out any available water sources. Elephants love water and will only soak up water from pristine sources, hence their attraction to lodge swimming pools. At Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, the splash pools seem to be a hit with our grey giants. Both the camps are open, which means wildlife is free to roam throughout. Rangers ensure the safety of guests at all times, and they’re warned against approaching wildlife. Photos taken are always under the guidance of a ranger standing guard. Respect of wildlife and its space in the natural world is first and foremost with our highly qualified guides!
Liryn de Jager, the relief manager for the two Klaserie camps, spent time observing the pachyderms at the Africa on Foot splash pool together with guests. Liryn has a deep connection to the bushveld and has been associated with Africa on Foot for over 7 years. She keeps coming back for more, and much like the elephants she has returned to her old stomping ground.
“He came knocking, unhurriedly, and then entered the confines of Africa on Foot where he was watched closely by staff and the newly arrived guests to this piece of bushveld paradise.This majestic elephant bull is a regular visitor to camp and isn’t perturbed at all by man-made obstacles or spectators. He has a certain routine that seems comforting and reassuring to people like relief manager Liryn”
Here is Liryn’s account of an elephant in camp at Africa on Foot :
“Despite their size and sometimes volatile outbursts, I don’t have to wonder why these animals are also described as gentle giants. Especially this one – he is so unassuming and moves about nonchalantly. First he stops at the swimming pool, tests the water with the tip of his trunk, measures out a few scoops and then lets the refreshment dribble into his mouth. After a few repetitions, he gets rid of an irritating scratch in his eye and then swings his trunk over one tusk or just carefully places it at the edge of the pool and gets some shut-eye.
Forty winks later and he starts lumbering around, nibbling on the last bit of greenery on the trees around the pool. He calculatingly steps over the rope around the lawn, then decides some landscaping is in order and promptly removes this hindrance.
The lantern at the entrance to the Hardekool chalet is inspected with curiosity but found to be of not much interest in the end. Instead a slow walk is taken around to the other side where the rope near the kitchen is also done away with without too much trouble.
And then he decides enough is enough and saunters away through the shrubbery. Tomorrow is another day.”