The next day was a bit of a rough start. I had managed to get myself a small sinus infection (likely due to the rainstorms we got caught in earlier) and slept poorly. I took some Sudafed, which helped, since I was not keen to miss a single drive.
The morning drive we decided to go out to see Stompy again. We didn’t find Stompy but find some other elephants. We did get a bit too close to a mother elephant and her baby. She shook her head at us but didn’t charge us. Stompy was around but you don’t go off road if you don’t know where Stompy was as a rule. So we tipped our hat at Stompy wherever he was. We learned that he’s a bit of a celebrity. Ule told us that Erindi had been on an Amazing Race episode. Participants had to find Stompy or the wild dogs.
We had originally planned on going a late morning drive. Sadly, I felt under the weather so I took a nap instead. Boo. The nap helped (even though I missed an elephant spraying itself with water on the drive!) I managed to get out of bed for lunch. At lunch, four elephants, including Stompy, made their way to the watering hole. So far, we hadn’t seen elephants there. It had rained a lot so there was lots of water to drink throughout Erindi. But the rains were slowing down (at least in those last couple of days) so more animals were coming to the watering hole.
It was incredible to see the elephants at the watering hole. The hippos were really unhappy about their arrival. The elephants would have none of it. When an elephant wants to do something, the elephant will do it. They dunked themselves into the water; they even tussled, shoving each other into the water. At one point, Stompy came all the way up to the deck of the lodge. It was incredible to be so close to him! According to Ule, he occasionally fills his trunk up with water and sprays the guests! Sadly, he didn’t do that. It would have been magnificent. Then he went back into the water, tussled some more with another elephant.
Then the elephants went to the far shore, near the sun deck, which is a small distance from the dining hall. It’s just a little covered deck with some chairs that would give you a different view of the watering hole. I don’t think we saw anyone actually sit out there. My fiancé and I ran out to the sun deck. We were about 10 feet away from them. At the time, I was praying that the electric fence would hold out should the elephant decide we were too close. We also watched Stompy roll in the dust. Incredible!
That afternoon drive, we went out again to see if we could find the rhino or the leopard. Sadly, both eluded us. However, we did find three turtles walking in a row by size. My friend whose been on safari many times said that this was something she had never seen before. It was so cute to watch them!
We also found a fair amount of baboons. On top of a rocky area, we saw a large baboon sitting on a rock facing a smaller baboon. It really looked like the elder was lecturing the younger about the ways of the world.
We also returned to the rocky outcropping for our afternoon drink. We had been there on the night of the thunderstorm. What a difference! On the way down, we saw the aardwolf again! So cute to see tiny eyes staring from a hole in the ground.
We also went to a watering hole that had a troop of baboons and impalas. There were tiny baboons, clinging to their moms! Or riding them like horses. So adorable. It was neat to see the two animals coexisting (though apparently baboons have been known to eat impala young…). Then we went to the other watering hole where we saw the rhino for the first time. He wasn’t there. But we watched the sunset in the horizon. Absolutely stunning. Nothing like watching the sunset in the bush.
But the most remarkable thing was on the way home at dusk, we found 34 giraffes grazing near the road. At least 34. It was incredible to see them peacefully together. At zoos (or the at least the ones I’ve been to), you never get more than a few at a time. This experience has made it really hard to see giraffes in zoos now. Simply a magical moment. Dusk and giraffes.
That’s all for now!