Fredo and Janey are so pleased to be back in Namutoni. The Bush Chalet is so comfortable and nice with an outside shower in an enclosed area over-looking the surrounding bush. This is where we belong. We spent 5 days here in 2013 and the Chalet is exactly as luxurious as we remember it.
[divider]We did come here again in 2015 and spent nine nights in our caravan in the camping area. Now we are here for seven nights. Surrounding the camp are a number of water holes and they have a great diversity of animals. The west is dominated by dust and open plains, but above all Zebras and Springboks. There are a lot of them around Namutoni too, but there are also lots more Giraffe and other animals.
In 2016 we saw the hyena swimming at Chudup water hole – we found him there three days in a row, fishing bones and pieces of meat out of the water. They told us they sometimes drag carcasses into the water to hide them from other scavenger. We headed for Chudop again on our first drive yesterday afternoon and again saw a hyena, this time along the road as we returned to camp. He was getting ready for the night hunt and was disturbed by some vehicles ahead of us. He moved behind a tree to hide himself from them, but was in our view. He lay down, with his head on his paws and waited for peace to return. When we moved off, he moved on.
[divider]Before this at Chudop we had the elephant and giraffe show while the other animals watched from the side lines. Elephants like to dominate when they come to the water hole. They arrive in a pile of dust, the little ones squealing with delight at the prospect of drinking. They normally take their time and this herd slowly moved around the water hole, drinking at various places. Then they got messy, spraying mud and water over themselves, before taking a sand or dust bath. Finally, they returned to the water for that last drink to clear the dust from their trunks.
This herd seemed to be nervous, which one would expect with two fairly small calves with them. They made it clear that they would not let any other animals approach while they were still there and at one point charged towards some 15 giraffe who stood waiting. It was a sight to behold -seeing the giraffe scatter – necks, heads and long legs shaking and bouncing as they tried to get away. They are so serene when they stand tall or gracefully walk, but when they run, the giraffe is a wobbly mess, all over the place, just like we anticipate Goofie would look like under similar situations.
The stars of the show were those two young calves – all with their ears and trunks up, running around and under the adults, climbing on a big rock and rolling in the dust and sand. When they charge towards the giraffe was on, they were at the frontline, trunks in the air and ears flapping.
[divider]Finally, they left and the giraffe could come and drink. Amongst them was an elderly gentleman with dark pigmentation and the skin behind his head turning grey and white on both sides – just like humans when they grow old. We again thought how vulnerable they are when they bent down to drink. That is why they take so much time, a little sip, then up comes the heads again, scanning in all directions, then bending down to drink again.
On our way back we discussed the behaviour of the elephants. We previously heard that about a week ago an elephant drowned at another water hole. An elephant drowning? They are so big and almost invincible! Apparently this happened though and the park rangers pulled the carcass out of the water. It lay next to the water hole and they left it up to the scavengers to clear up the mess.
[divider]Could the loss of a member of the elephant family have triggered the nervousness in the herd we saw? They say that elephants can communicate with others more than 40 kilometers away through rumbling their tummies and send vibrations through their big flat feet.
Nothing is impossible in the animal kingdom. We will visit the sight today and see what is left of the carcass and how this sad incident developed further.