I adored our recent trip to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park in South Africa – I loved the landscape, the solitude and the sense of adventure and survival it offered. I knew it’d be hard work to obtain animal sightings and I was prepared for the sparseness of the environment. I’d set my expectations of locating big cats at a low level and I was happy to spend the day exploring the magnificent landscape and admiring the bird-life.
However, what I did not foresee was such an incredible and powerful longing for elephants. My heart ached with the desire to see that familiar grey bulk emerging on the horizon. My eyes started to play tricks on me and I convinced myself I could spot them at the end of a long day tracking. I’d spend the evening watching the waterholes, imagining a herd coming to drink right outside our dune cabin and I even dreamt of them at night.
The last time we’d seen elephants was 6 months ago in Kruger National Park and we’d almost become accustomed to seeing them several times daily on our drives in Northern Kruger. I don’t want to say that we’d taken them for granted – far from it – but we found a strange comfort in seeing them regularly and spending hours with them, observing their behaviour and almost feeling like we knew them personally. I missed that. I missed their reliability, their slow pace and gentle amble, the gentle crunching noise they make when munching on grasses and I missed observing their emotions.
Elephants are truly the most incredible creatures and we need to do everything we can to protect them for generations to come.