Late last year I returned to our exclusive Kiturua Conservancy, alongside Amboseli National Park. Boasting the greatest density of elephants on the continent, a close encounter with these graceful beasts is more a matter of expectation than happenstance. We were not disappointed as within minutes of our first evening game drive we came across three large bulls right outside of camp.
We followed their slow saunter until they reached an acacia tree covering to eat. With seemingly no effort, one bull pulled down an entire branch to feed on its nutritious foliage. We were startled by the crack of the broken branch and the scene of watching the 5 ton elephants dash over to get their share of the meal with such urgency, as if they hadn’t eaten all month! Unbothered by our presence, these gentle giants went about their dinner as we watched from the Land Cruiser, just a few feet away.
From this vantage point, we were able to see each elephant as an individual and Oliver took this opportunity to point out the scars and markings of each bull. Taking mental note of these features proved useful, as the next day we were able to quickly identify and say “jambo” to the same bulls during our search for more game!
It’s a real treat to spot the same animal more than once during a safari, as learning more about their personality and behavior adds a deeper understanding. I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for these same elephants when I return to Amboseli later this month.
Watching one of the three bulls
Coming across two more elephant families