Tag archives for Elephants
Just looking at our Land Cruiser made me excited, it was the perfect open air safari truck and how we would be traveling through Botswana’s best game parks for the next week. Our guide William was a wealth of knowledge with everything from birds and antelope to the traditional food (which he ate an extraordinarily large amount of)!
Our first sighting was a herd of elephant just steps away. We thought we were hearing lions off in the distance but William told us that it was just the sound of the elephant’s stomachs digesting their food.
Speaking of digestion you should know that while all of this was happening I was curled up in a ball with a case of African belly. But it was my fault for trying all these new yummy African foods.
Even though I felt awful we still had an epic game drive. We saw loads of impala, warthog, elephant, and monkeys with blue butts (they are called velvet monkeys, although I think they should just be called blue butts). As we were setting up camp a herd of elephant walked right by, it made my heart beat soooo fast! We spent all of our nights enjoying braii cooked meals and gazing at the stars.
That night while we slept hippos danced two feet from our heads, lions walked through our camp and monkeys got into our trash. It’s a good thing that I am a sound sleeper.
We saw hundreds of elephants throughout our next day and they always brought a smile to my face.
We then experienced a giraffe fight. There were two males fighting over a female and they would swoop down with their heads and bang the other guy in the belly. It seemed like this was all happening in slow motion and made it very funny to watch. I wasn’t sure who was winning but I knew the next day they were going to have some serious stomach aches (just like me.)
Each of our games drives had been so incredible that we couldn’t imagine things getting better, but they did… guess what we saw? Ya… you are right it, was a male lion walking down the road… wait no he wasn’t walking he was strutting his stuff just as if he were a runway model. He had all kinds of scars all over his face so we realized he wasn’t the kind of cat you wanted to cuddle up with.
Then something even more amazing happened we came across a leopard and her fully grown cub lounging on a dead tree. They didn’t have a care in the world all that mattered to them was their nap. After we watched them lounge for a while it started to rain cats and dogs… no not latterly but if you keep listening we saw more of each!
Next a lion spotting even more amazing than the first. He was in the high grass and you could tell the thunder and lightning really freaked him out. Whenever it would boom his eyes got really big and he would yawn giving us a great view of those massive canines. Right then William got close enough that in one little bound he could be on my lap but luckily that didn’t happen! Phew!!!!
Now you want to hear about the dogs? Okay, I will tell you. On our way back to a swamp of a camp I spotted something frightening two wild dogs trying to get a yummy impala dinner. We were really lucky to see these wild guys because William told us there are only 4,000 in all of Africa.
To end our epic day we saw a black mamba getting a drink from a puddle. Just so you know black mambas are very poisons and my mom doesn’t like snakes so it absolutely freaked her out.
On our final day in Chobe National Park we completed our sightings of the big five with a cape buffalo off in the distance. I heard they can be very ornery for no reason at all so I was fine by me that they were far away. Their horns look like someone used a lot of gel in their hair to make a silly hairdo.
Sadly all of the excitement in these incredible parks was coming to an end, but there are still loads of adventures to come. Talk to you next week!
The Namibian sand was calling our name so we grabbed our Kalahari Ferraris (sand boards) and hit the dunes. My heart was thumping in my chest as I was hanging over the slip face. I didn’t even have time to catch my breath and they pushed me over the edge. Each of our seven runs was steeper and faster than the last.
After our adrenaline buzz we wandered the beach and streets of Swakopmund and came across the world’s largest quartz crystal cluster. It is estimated to be about 520 million years old and weighs 14,100 kilograms. Namibia is home to some of the world’s most fine gemstones.
Our next stop was Cape Cross, home to over 100,000 cape fur seals; half of them were one month old pups. The moment we saw the seals our mouths dropped open. Many of the adorable pups were taking their first swim in the ocean and you could tell they were having a ball.
Then something awesome yet scary happened, we were charged by a seal. He was trapped in the pathway and thought we were in his territory. At first it was kind of fun having the seal be so close to us but when he bared his teeth we ran as fast as we could to the truck.
Next we were off to
Brandberg, home of the desert elephant. On our way we visited a local Himba village and learned about their culture and purchased some traditional crafts. The Himba people rub their bodies in a red ochre and fat to protect them from the harsh desert climate. Arriving in Brandberg we were greeted by Bonnie the meerkat and Peanut the talking bird.
The next morning we set out for a sunrise game drive. “ELEPHANT!” is what Everest screamed when he saw a massive bull only ten feet away from us. We drove on and saw another 30 incredible elephants; Moms, Dads, and lots of little calves.
After an epic elephant experience we went back in time 6,000 years to when the local Bushmen roamed the land. There were ancient rock engravings that they used to inform the other tribes what animals were in the area, what animals they were hunting, and to teach the children about the animals. The engravings at Twyfelfontein were very stark but had a beauty about them. My favorites were the engravings of the giraffe. Did you know the Bushmen never killed the giraffe because they thought the giraffe had long necks to speak to the sky gods who brought the rain? Africa couldn’t be more amazing!
After a long drive and a late night arrival at Sapana Lodge in the Chitwan National Park, we woke up to the sound of stomping elephant feet. When I looked out the window through the mist I saw a huge elephant and her mahout (the driver and keeper of the elephant). Later that morning my mom and I got to get in the river with our elephant and bathe her. The best part was when she splashed us with her trunk and got us all wet.
To top off the outstanding day, I got to make treats for the elephant and then feed them to her. Her treats were made with dried rice and rice stalk.
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While we were in Punaka, the home to one of the most beautiful and important Dzongs (spectacular forts or monasteries), we got to see two elephants that were brought from the south of Bhutan for the royal wedding. Everyone was crazy about the elephants because they don’t have elephants in Punaka, so these were the first elephants most of the people had ever seen. People were giving the elephants bananas and some were even giving them money. What made the experience even cooler was that we got to pet the elephants. Their trunks were really hairy.
Phenomenal Friday fact!
It’s possible to produce electricity from elephant dung.
Photograph by Naeem Shariff,My Shot
Zookeepers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park welcomed a new male elephant calf into the herd last week! The calf’s mother also has an older calf, who is almost four years old. The new baby hasn’t been named yet, but he has been busy exploring with his mother. The park’s elephant herd gave birth to four male calves in 2010.
See pictures of the baby elephant on the ZooBorns website.
Visit the San Diego Zoo Safari Park website to see a video of the baby.
Get the facts on African elephants in the Creature Feature.
Photograph by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
BOOK NAME: Bulu: African Wonder Dog
AUTHOR: Dick Houston
Have you ever adopted a dog? I have. A beautiful Chihuahua named Sophie became a part of our family in December. We do typical dog owner things like feed her, play with her, and take her for walks. But after reading Bulu, I’ve come to realize that there is nothing typical about owning a dog in the African bush! Many dangers await Bulu as he fights for his life to survive in Africa.
The name Bulu means “wild dog”. The Tolans adopted Bulu after no one else would take him. He was different from his littermates and didn’t seem like the perfect dog, except to the Tolans. They were able to see his many fine qualities and he soon became a part of their family.
Despite many sad encounters, this is a story full of love and adventure. Most dogs die a tragic death in Africa, but Bulu survives all the hardship. And he not only survives, he provides nurturing and companionship to orphaned baby animals. That’s right, Bulu acts as a foster parent to orphaned animals such as warthogs, vervets, baboons, bushbucks, and even elephants!
I especially love this book because it is a true story with pictures throughout the book. So it’s very easy to see for yourself what a wonderful dog Bulu truly is. If you like dogs or a story that take places in Africa, then this is a book for you. In fact, I feel this book will become a classic in time. I have a dog of my own so I love this book. If you read Bulu you will never look at a dog the same again!
BOOK NAME: Travels with Tarra
AUTHOR: Carol Buckley
Tarra the elephant was sent from Africa to California to a man named Bob who wanted attention for his tire store. Then a college girl, the author Carol Buckley, ends up buying Tarra and teaches her all sorts of tricks, but she’s most famous for her roller skating. Tarra’s roller skates are specially made to fit her feet – they’re huge! For about twenty years, Carol and Tarra appeared at circuses, theme parks, and zoos.
This is a picture book that is for older kids. It’s very interesting because Tarra has a very cool life. She meets Carol’s dog Tasha, and they become friends. There’s a picture of Tarra holding up the dog with her trunk!
Tarra ends up living in a bunch of zoos but finally settles down in Buckley’s elephant sanctuary. A lot of other elephants live in the sanctuary with Tarra. The sanctuary is in Tennessee, is 800 acres big, but you may not go visit the elephants there.
Buckley created the sanctuary so that Tarra could settle down and not have to move to different places.
I really like this book. Until next time – seeya!