10/23/09: Elephant Sands campsite, Botswana
Wherever you’re reading this from, look up and find the wall on the opposite end of the room. If that wall is about 25 feet away, perfect! If not, imagine the spot 25 feet away from you. Now replace whatever is there with four giant elephants. Not the small crappy elephants, but four man-eating, building-crushing elephants, including one that’s the biggest you’ve ever seen.
We had just returned from a “nature walk” near our campsite. I use the quotations, because it was a nature walk only by title. (I’ve noticed a lot of things mislabeled here in Africa: our first “village walk” was a mountain hike, “high speed internet” is always incredibly low speed internet and “7pm dinners” are usually 9pm dinners.) Instead we basically did a three hour game drive, with a short walk by a watering hole midway through the drive.
Anyway, the sun had long set by the time we returned to camp, so we were more than ready for dinner. There was a long table set up just for us right next to the campsite’s saltwater pool, which measured about 25 feet long.
It is here that I should mention that Botswana has over 120,000 elephants (about one elephant per 17 people), and the camp we’re staying at is called “Elephant Sands.” They built this campsite just meters from a small watering hole, and earlier in the day we had seen a thirsty elephant clean and bathe in the hole.
Throughout our meal we could hear elephants at the watering hole and trampling on the trees around it. Unfortunately it was too dark to see them that far away. As we were finishing eating though, we could see one come into view, and then another, and then two more. They were walking up to the pool! The pool that people at our table were complaining about their chairs being too close to. The 25 foot, saltwater pool.
I don’t get scared easily. Ok, that’s a lie. But I don’t get scared easily by animals. Except for spiders and snakes and bats and – ok, I don’t get scared easily by big animals. But I must admit, I was actually a little scared. I never realized how big elephants really are (the ones here in southern Africa are much larger than the ones we saw up in the Serengeti). And here there were four of them, all at one edge of the pool, while the 20 of us sat mesmerized at the other edge.
One of our guides kept whispering to us not to move and not to take flash photographs (blame him for there being no still picture account of this encounter). The elephants were clearly on high alert as they drank the pool water and rubbed up against a nearby tree. At one point it looked like the largest of the small pod was ready to come around and drink from our side of the pool, but it was all just a ruse.
After about five minutes of drinking and scratching, one elephant decided to take the situation into his own hand. Well, sort of. And this is where the situation became unsuitable for this blog, as he found a female elephant and…
It didn’t work at the time, but it did make all four want to leave the pool. They scampered back into the darkness, and we were left to wonder while eating our stew. One thing’s for sure though, I won’t be forgetting this moment.
Puzzles for Postcards – NEW!
Hidden Locations: This puzzle is a variation on the game where you find the word hidden in the sentence. Here you must find one location in each of the two sentences, but the twist is that they can be hidden forward or backwards. For example, if the category was States, here are two possible sentences:
Jeremy examined the totAL AS KAela looked at the individual parts.
At the birthday party BozO HAD Interrupted the piñata activity.
Make sense? Leave a comment if you don’t like this puzzle. We won’t listen to negative feedback, but feel free to try anyway.
Today’s puzzle: Hidden Countries. To make it easier, all locations used will be at least five letters long.
Xavier noted on his computer that the large red widget always clears inventory.
I’d buy the Big Bertha; it is far and away the most popular driver we sell.
Picture of the Day: It actually did not take Zhou much convincing to take this picture of her husband on the nature walk.