A group of triumphant African elephant wander away, trunks swinging, from the watering hole in Kruger Nationanl Park.

To kick things off for Google+’s African Tuesday here’s My African Favourite – elephants. No matter the excitement we experience when seeing kills, unusual activity, or new species of mammal or bird, we still end up with a longing to see elephants just doing their thing, keeping close, clearly communicating and exploring the world. There are several species which exist in their own taxonomic order themselves – effectively their own branch of evolution, and elephants for me (since we don’t have living dinosaurs) are the most emblematic icon of the natural diversity we have on this planet, and their tender interactions point to their longevity both as a species and as families.

In this image, a group of triumphant African elephant wander away, trunks swinging, sated from the watering hole in Kruger National Park. Elephant appear and disappear with astonishing speed – they are huge, but the gentle trees that patter the landscape are usually bigger and swallow these creatures silently. Unusually, I think elephants can be picturesque subjects from both behind and front, due to the oversize nature of their appendages (and those massive air conditioning ears!)

Africa is so diverse, but when you look at the habitat maps (at least for southern Africa) of elephant it’s surprising to see the small range of elephant. Indeed when we traveled to Kgalagadi, despite the wonderful landscapes and amazing setting in which to see cats, birds, ground animals and wonderful stars, Africa somehow didn’t seem Africa without at least a hint of these wonderful – but confined – friends. That’s why elephants are my African favourite on Google+’s African Tuesday today – we’ve just this afternoon arrived back from a long trip in SA including Addo, so hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to add some more.

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