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Have time to look at the elephant in detail

  • February 11, 2023 | Rhulani Safari Lodge

From Rhulani's observation hide at the waterhole, the "Tshembo Hide", no animal can be observed as spectacularly as the elephant. From the frog's perspective you look up at this imposing mammal and marvel at its size. But not only that. If you linger and watch the animal drinking, you should take your time and observe the many details that you can only discover from here, up close.

Watching the elephant from the Tshembo Hide

the elephant splashes with water

View of the versatile trunk

A small elephant squeezes through between the big ones

The tusks are often worn down, damaged and, in the worst case, even broken off. Did the elephant fight? Or did the damage occur when tree branches were broken off? In the case of the rhinoceros, the horn would grow back as it is like a fingernail. This is not the case with elephant tusks. Teeth don't grow back.

Given the size and weight of the heaviest mammal living on land, it is always amazing how smoothly and quietly it walks around. The foot is carefully placed on the ground, still and quietly.

Sometimes you can see a white foam in the elephant's eye. Where does it come from? The elephant's "third eyelid" sweeps horizontally as nature's way of keeping mud, dust and other debris out of the reddish-brown eyes of the animal. The membrane moves a combination of moisture and debris out of the eye. This collects in the foam.

The hard, leathery skin shows conspicuously deep furrows that create an interesting pattern.

The animal often flaps its ears. Why is he doing this? It can have different functions. It shows state of mind, is used for communication (elephants are very social animals), it is a sign of authority in the herd (age and rank) and they can hear their surroundings better. But above all it serves to cool down – so ears are actually an air conditioning system.

Elephants do a lot of things with their trunks. They inspect the area, smell, pick up things, suck in water and splash around in all directions, it can carry things around, grab and break branches, and put the water in the mouth to drink.

Elephants have long hair on their tails which is hard and tough, almost like a wire. You can make bracelets with it.

There is much more to tell, but see for yourself when you experience the magical moment at Tshembo Hide.

The resistant tail hairs clearly visible

A worn tusk