Howard Saunders - Professional Guide in Africa
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The elephants of Amboseli

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Late last year, I returned to our exclusive Kiturua Conservancy near Amboseli National Park. Boasting the greatest density of elephants in all of Africa, a close encounter with these graceful beasts is expected here. And we were not disappointed! Within minutes of our first evening game drive, we came across three large bulls right outside of the camp.

We followed their slow saunter until they reached an acacia tree covering, where they stopped to eat.  With seemingly no effort, one bull pulled down a massive branch, startling all of us to point that I actually jumped out of my seat. Unbothered by loud thud of the branch or 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 really see each elephant as an individual – it was easy to note the scars and markings of each bull. Noticing these features proved to be useful, as the next day we were able to quickly identify and say “jambo” to the same elephants during our search for more game. 

It’s a real treat to spot the same animal more than once during a safari, and it’s even more special to watch in such close proximity. It adds an almost indescribably layer of intimacy to a safari. I’ll be sure to be on the lookout for these same elephants when I return to Amboseli later this month.

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Watching one of the three bulls

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Coming across two more elephant families

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THE EXPERIENCE AT A GLANCE

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