Monday, October 13, 2014

There's an elephant on my stoep!

Baboons, Genets, bush babies, zebras peeing on the stoep are all rather commonplace but elephants here in Sabie Park, right near our house just boggles the mind! As we were preparing for our annual October pilgrimage to Sabie Park, Mphumalanga, I was reading more and more comments on the Sabie Park Facebook page about elephants coming over the river into Sabie Park! Wow! This was just too much to even imagine! I was hoping beyond all hope just to see an Ellie!

It wasn't too long before we were to have our first encounter with the beast! My sister Robyn, hubby Dudley and Grandson Dylan had joined us for a week. The first two nights were the regular hyenas calling, genet sniffing around to see what we were cooking, night jars calling and the quaint hoot of an owl. We even watched a very small Bushbaby jumping from tree to tree silhouetted against the beautiful night sky. Our third night we all went to bed at about nine o'clock and at about ten I woke to a cracking of trees and branches. I realised that we had a V.I.P. Visiting ! I shook my hubby to wake up and armed with our torch we tried to find out where the noise was eminating from. We couldn't see anything from behind our windows and glass doors so brave Warren stepped out of the house and shone his torch and there he was. Wow! How thrilling. An elephant. A very busy elephant was munching and breaking the branches in the beautiful moonlight right close up to our house. By now we were all awake and enjoying this amazing sight. While thrilled to see an actual elephant so close we needed to get rid of him ASAP as before we had arrived in Sabie Park we had had many visits if the devastation of our trees surrounding the house, was anything to go by. It is very dry here and the bushveld is grey, brown and dusty. We don't have many trees around the house and to see the few we do have, pulled down and trashed was rather upsetting.

Somewhere I had read that to get rid of elephants one needs to fill a pot with stones and rattle it making a big noise. The second best thing I could think of was to get a wooden spoon and to bang a large tinny pot! My hubby got going with this trick and eventually Jumbo moved on albeit rather reluctantly. I just could not get back to sleep after all the excitement and at about midnight I thought I heard more elephant activity. As it was not too close to our house I let it go.

Two afternoons later Robyn and I were home alone while the boys were off on a drive to Kruger. First we spied two elephants passing through our back garden. I opened the back door to get a photo and Robyn nearly had a heart attack! We just settled back in the lounge and another elephant arrived back where the first encounter had taken place and it had decided that our trees needed further trimming! I was so afraid that he would tackle the tree directly in front of the house so out came the pot and spoon but nothing would deter this fellow. I shouted, I spoke pleasantly, I pleaded and I made as much noise as possible. I eventually called the security and the guard took five minutes to get here. He jumped out his white van with a gun loaded with rubber bullets and instantly the elephant was off. It is amazing how such a large creature can blend into the bush so quickly. The helpful fellow told me I should always tell them to "voetsak" as this will make them leave instantly. So maybe these Ellie's are Afrikaans. Later on my sister and I definitely heard two gun shots and all we could hope for was that the security were chasing the elephants from damaging someone else's property.

Yesterday there was no elephant activity but today Warren spoke to the manager of Sabie Park and evidently a dead elephant was found up the road. He said the stench from the carcass was rather dreadful so the workers took the trailer, cut the carcass up and the bits of flesh etc loaded the trailer and took the remains were back to Kruger to feed the other animals. Ernest the manager says after that all the elephants paid their respects to their dead brother all 21 elephants headed back to Kruger. There are NO more elephants in Sabie Park. On return from their drive the guys said there were no elephants in the river or any where else to be seen. Mother Nature definitely has her own way of sorting things out!

While it's sad on one hand that they have gone it's good that the elephants are back in the park where they are free to roam and maybe we can feel a little easier too and walk on our roads again. Meanwhile Warren has a never ending supply of wood from all the trashed trees!! Thank you Mother Nature.


No comments:

Post a Comment