We had been told by 2 sets of friends about how lovely Elephants Sands is so we decided to head there to camp for the weekend. The name is more than appropriate.
At this time of the year there is very little water in the area and the lodge actually brings in water from 70 km away to supply their waterhole (a trough at this stage) that is situated right in front of the lodge.
Being virtually the only ones in camp, when we arrived, we had the pick of campsites and chose the one closest to the waterhole. Looking around we did notice that there were no fences, meaning that the wildlife could walk through.
The warthogs were shortly followed by 3 elephants and suddenly “the great” turned into concern and soon the thought of seeing how much the chalets were crossed her mind
The flow of elephants hardly stopped the whole weekend and there were times when there must have been 30-40 in one go drinking or waiting to drink. This caused a lot of fighting and pushing as the bulls tried to get to the water and showed their dominance. To the extent that we watched as a young bull was knocked off his feet and landed on his side. He had plenty to say about that as he rocked himself back onto his feet.
The lodge has a massive deck with a pool, bar and restaurant which is virtually on top of the water trough and you can get within a couple of meters of the elephants drinking.
As the sun sunk we were treated to a beautiful full moon and after a lovely dinner we retired into our tent. The entrance of which faced the waterhole, so we lay looking at the elephants coming and going in the light of the full moon.
A gentle, but determined prod in my ribs woke me, which was followed by a whispered “LOOK”. Not more than 20m in front of our tent was a massive elephant bull, which was moving in our direction. Having put up our tent under one of the only trees in the camp I expected the worst. He came within 6m of our tent before turning off and walking between our tent and car (about 4m away from us).
It is amazing how quietly these massive animals move and apart from their soft padded feet being placed on the soft sand you couldn’t hear a thing. We lay awake listening to another elephant coming from behind us and rounding our tent, he stopped in front of our entrance for a while before moving off. We could hear trees around camp being broken, lucky enough our tree was spared.
There was only one set of ablutions for the campsite which was for both sexes and with flimsy shower curtains that were either torn or blew in the wind there was not much privacy.
There was a gap between the roof and the ablution walls which was great as you could look out into the bush whilst showering. The elephants had opened up the french drain and were drinking from that as well, so you got close ups of them whilst showering, it was just a problem keeping the cameras dry.
An extra special treat came on our last morning when we got up with the sun and were sipping our coffee. From the other side of the lodge ran in a pack of about 20 wild dogs to drink. (See Brian and Howard it is worth getting up early).
The dogs had obviously been eating as they were covered in blood and were here to drink and wash. The elephants that had been fighting over the water amongst themselves all weekend were not just going to let these intruders in and charged them regularly.
Unfortunately we had to pack up after 4 amazing days and head home. I would recommend a visit to Elephant Sands – it was great.
Thank goodness for digital as we took over 1400 pics, some of these can be seen at: https://ourbots.wordpress.com/photos-2/elephant-sands/