Elephants and Politics...

Damaraland Travel Blog

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Me watching the elephants at lunch time
The rest of 9/17 was spent tracking "G5", the herd with the elephant that recently killed a Namibian. No luck. We drove and drove, stopping many times to look at tracks, dung, etc. We found a spot to camp for the night, knowing there was a possibility that they could come through our camp site in the night. Sure enough, when I woke the next morning, everyone was excited! They HAD come through, only I was so exhausted from the day before, I slept through it! :( I am not usually a heavy sleeper, and the fact that I slept through numerous elephants walking only feet away from where I slept on the ground astounds me...

On 9/18, we found TWO herds of elephants! G5 as well as another herd. We spent the day observing them, which was the most amazing thing.
elephants cooling off in the muddy water
There had to have been at least 12-16 elephants. We watched them walk, eat, play in the muddy water, etc. When we took a break for lunch, we had quite a surprise. The herds began moving in our direction! We grabbed our sandwiches and followed Jo onto a kopji and ate quietly while watching them play in a water hole. It was the best lunch I have ever had!

Later in the day, we decided to head back to base camp for the night. Jo informed us that we had accomplished what we'd set out to do: the government agreed that the elephants were NOT a danger, and would not kill one of them. Needless to say, everyone was very excited!

This morning (9/19), we headed back out on patrol with Wayne, stopping on the way at the EHRA school. We were able to visit the facilities and spend a bit of time with the kindergarden class.
kindergarden student
The children were so adorable!! The ran and grabbed your legs, asked to be picked up, etc. Sadly, they are crammed into the smallest little classroom, surrounded outside by sand with loads of broken glass. We spent some time picking glass out of the sand, but it seemed to never end...

After visiting the school, we drove and observed a small herd of elephants (the same one that had walked through base camp Sunday night!) as they had an elephant-goat standoff at a water tank....guess who won? :)

Sadly, after lunch, one of our vehicles broke down. The clutch stopped working...not a good sign! We had to push the truck in the 110 degree heat, then jump on when it started. We found a spot to camp for the evening and spent the rest of the day there.
Andy99 says:
This has been great travel blog! Thanks for sharing your unique experiences and adventures!
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
AndiPerullo says:
What an amazing couple of days!!! Congrats on convincing the government to leave the elephants alone. What an accomplishment! It must have been a dream-come-true to be close to that many wild elephants?
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
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Me watching the elephants at lunch…
Me watching the elephants at lunc…
elephants cooling off in the muddy…
elephants cooling off in the mudd…
kindergarden student
kindergarden student
Our group at lunch, watching the e…
Our group at lunch, watching the …
The kindergarden class
The kindergarden class
Observing elephants on Patrol Week
EHRA school Kindergarden Class (N…
photo by: Jennyc2007