Since returning from my travels, I have been swimming in requests to share some of the experiences and photographs of my recent sights and experiences as I camped through the wilds of Africa.
The elephant pictures here were taken in a place called Etosha, with my oobie-doober camera (of which, from the top of my head, I cannot remember the name). The Rock Hyrax was from South Africa.
In Botswana, I was fortunate enough to set up camp by a well frequented watering hole. Here I watched numerous herds of elephants pass by and spend time in the water.
On some occasions they passed only a couple of metres from where I was sitting, and I was caught up in the dust flurry of their ear flaps and footfalls.
Some herd members would hunker right down in the water, using their long noses like snorkels, or as straws to suck up mud. A second or two later they would blow out the mud in one explosive, drippy mass of brown that splattered all over their bodies and often their neighbour’s as well. I gathered this mud acted both as a coolant and UV protection in the strong African sun.
Elephant babies are born septuagenarian wrinkled, but playful like puppies. I watched as they bumbled and fumbled and explored their world with their clumsy, excitable trunks, often tumbling over their own footsteps—or noses.
The young are continually tended after and cuddled by the adults—who never take their eyes off them. All adults seemed to share in the task of protecting the young.
In South Africa I came into contact with this unusually large rodent, known as the Rock Hyrax (or more commonly know as a Dassie), and was told its closest relative, genetically, is the elephant–
I was fairly sure the locals were pulling my leg, but following some research, I found this staggering information to be correct. It’s barmy-sounding, when this creature looks to be far more closely related to the guinea pig! Apparently, the cause is less to do with appearances and more to do with the mechanisms of their digestive tract and the function of the pads on the base of their feet.