There is nothing like the adventure of cruising slowly through the African bush looking for creatures after dark. You never know what you may find or even if you will find anything at all. It all depends on the persistence and experience of your ranger. Earlier this year we were fortunate enough to have two fantastic rangers at MalaMala Main Lodge in South Africa and at Okonjima Plains Camp in Namibia who treated us to some amazing after dark sights. Many African animals and birds are only seen during the night as they are nocturnal. I really wanted to see a honey badger and a pangolin but we were not lucky enough to find those animals on either night. I did get to see a group of bush babies huddled in a tree, a chameleon, a few brown hyenas, a twelve-foot-long African rock python, owls, lion, leopard, cheetahs, and lots of porcupines. It was amazing how our guide could steer the jeep with one hand, while scanning the darkness holding a flashlight in the other and then spot bush babies in a tree so far away. The ranger was then able to find us a tiny green chameleon camouflaged in the leaves of a tree. What an exciting addition to our day safari experience to see these animals in their natural settings at night.
One of the most magnificent creatures I have seen in nature is the African Elephant. Today on World Elephant Day I want to share some of my favorite pictures and honor these beautiful animals that need our protection and preservation in order to survive. I feel very fortunate to have been able to see elephants in their natural habitat, roaming through the dry brush of Botswana to the deep green grass of the Madikwe Game Reserve, wading through water holes in Kruger National Park, and babies playing without a care while their mothers forage for food. There is no more a peaceful event than sitting still in an open jeep while a herd of over 50 elephants pass by on a feeding mission within a few feet on either side of you. You can barely hear a sound other than the cracking of trees as they steam roll through the vegetation, the flapping of their ears to cool themselves, and the occasional snorting or trumpeting. During times of stress I will dream of these experiences I had with the beauty and peacefulness of the African Elephant. God bless and protect you African Elephant so that many others may have you in their lives someday and forever.