Negotiating my way through elephants

4th May 2014

Friday 25th April 2014

By half past six I was negotiating the Landagreenie through a breeding herd of elephants on Middle Road as we made our way to the junction of Sand Pad. Standing in my way was a huge elephant bull that for all intensive purposes looked as if he was going nowhere.

He did eventually move so we could reach our destination which for the staff was the easy part of the assignment. All Duncan, Rhodes and I had to do was stand guard in the sun soaked mopane whilst seven students were shown by the instructor Robert how to make spring loaded traps from the patches of raisen bush.

This wasn’t challenging at all but it was perfect after a full on week. There were a few oxpeckers flying overhead, some impala rams cavorting to my north and the distant trumpeting of the breeding herd as they made their way to the springs. I particularly enjoyed the distant rumble of the Landrover knowing that the food run was coming in and I wasn’t doing it, no crates to lug and no freezer boxes laden with meat to man handle up to the kitchen.

The rest of the day was easy going, a few transfers up to the gate, one of which included a phone run and some minor road repairs. Then my first run for some time which I made nice and easy, just five k so as not to knock my recovery back. I figured I’d be able to do that well enough through all the booze at tonight’s braai which was to celebrate Bruce’s birthday and his and Dee’s departure to Australia for three months.

With all the elephants back on the concession I made sure I concentrated on my surroundings, there was plenty to pick up on. Some oxpeckers showed me a herd of eland, a rustle in the autumn leaves revealed a skink that had been sunning itself in the last of the afternoon sun. Finally I had a stand off with a young warthog which at this stage only had the white hair to imitate its tusks rather than the real thing. There were the alarm calls too that I had to note, a squirrel going nuts at what I imagined was a raptor and then the vervets and impala alerting the others to the 39 year old running around the firebreak.