Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chiawa Camp and Baby Elephants





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Travelled down river today to Chiawa Camp which is the oldest and most established camp in the park.  Set off on an afternoon game drive with our guide Spencer and 2 fellow travelers from America.  It was clear that this area was very rich in terms of game.  The night before I arrived they had 6 lions at the entry to camp.  Within 2 minutes of leaving we encountered numerous elephant and herds of impalas.  Lots of cute baby elephants (my favorite) and protective moms so we gave them plenty of space.  The scenery is stunning with open ground shaded by tall trees all along the river bank.  

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We spotted some elephant tracks that had little dripping marks between the strides.  This indicates a male elephant in musk which makes him very aggressive and dangerous.  A few minutes later we came around a corner and met this individual.  He immediately started to display his strength by pushing over a nearby tree and destroying a huge termite mound.  Spencer wisely repositioned the vehicle facing away and after a few false charges he made a serious charge at us.  Spencer was quick to react and punched down on the throttle as we to away down the road at 40 Kim's per hour.  The elephant is an amazing animal and incredible quick - much faster than one would expect.  He was actually able to stay up with our speed for over 1/2 a kilometer - this guy was not fooling.  This was the first time that I had been charged in a vehicle and it was quite exciting.  Glad we were not on foot!  

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