My first recollection of seeing a herd of elephants was on my 5th birthday. They were large and grey and not at all like the ‘Dumbo’ images that I had in my head. My yellow haired doll with her unblinking blue eyes proved to keep my interest more than the elephants.
Looking back, I had not appreciated the freedom of space, the warm breeze caressing my hair and the warmth of the wooden slats toasting my bum and bare legs. There I was, sitting on the floor of a viewing platform overlooking a water hole in the heart of the Hwange Game Reserve. The sleeping water reflected the gold trimmed clouds scudding happily across the painted sky. Noisy doves policed the trees, their melodious calls filling the late afternoon. Small midges floated and whirled around my face… it was perfect, and yet I kept playing with my doll.
The peaceful afternoon erupted with trumpeting bellows as a small herd of elephants bathed in a warm bronzed glow emerged from the deep shadows in the bush. I did not watch for more than a few minutes as they did a lumbering shuffle, kicking up clouds of dust making for the water hole. Enormous, grey and stately: and they were just…there. I did not have any idea on how privileged I was.
Now I have grown and so has my passion for these majestic and gentle giants. I will never take them for granted again. I have joined this fight against poaching to spread awareness of their plight, and to make sure our children’s children will be able to see them in the wild.
I would dearly love to be on the ground… but I am not. I am only doing what I can from afar… but I do do various trips back to Africa through all the different links I have found on the internet, and tonight I am going to take you back to Hwange…help spread the word.. these elephants need friends.