It was past 2 a.m. when the dad elephant gently brushed by my tent and woke me up. I had called it an early night after I had lost at darts against Nika and Smokey, two consultants of a Zimbabwean NGO who visited Mfuwe to help develop the community. A pale skinny guy had walked up to us in his tight black boxers during the game only to complain about our loud laughters. I had no clue what animal could have possibly passed by my tent, but surely not a lion, so I slightly unzipped the door. Apparently, the elephant family that had been feeding next to the swimming pool earlier had returned to the campsite for a late midnight snack.
I only stuck my head out of the entrance to be able to observe how the three elephants peacefully tore the tree apart which was only standing 5 meters further. Suddenly the mom turned around and raised her trunk. I didn’t know whether she had just detected my scent when she suddenly moved towards me. I immediately moved back and hid in the middle of the tent. As usual I had locked away my food in the self-catering kitchen. Had I forgotten to remove any fruit from my backpack? My heart started raising. If not, might the enormous elephant accidentally stumble on my tiny tent?
A few seconds later I could hear loud smacking sounds. I dared to stick my head out again, and there they were. Four big grey feet and a baby elephant right in front of me! The elephants quickly cleared the bush, that had slightly blocked my view onto the river until then, and headed towards the restaurant. I had almost zipped up my tent and gone back to sleep again when I saw skinny guy going after the elephant family. Was he also going to ask them to keep it down? I couldn’t believe my eyes when he shone his flashlight on the feeding elephants. The dad elephant immediately turned around and fanned out his ears. So what’s the one thing to avoid when being charged by an elephant?
Exactly, don’t run for your life! Apparently, nobody had told the guy in the black boxers. I could only observe a pair of pale legs running by my tent as fast as they could. Luckily it was only a mock charge and the elephant decided against chasing after him. The hippos in the river nearby started a roaring competition and it took me at least an hour to fall asleep again.
Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.