Elephantastic River Kwai, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Thoughtful, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Thoughtful, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Botswana is the elephant hub off the world, no other country hosts as many of these gentle giants.

Elephants travel long distance for this abundance of water and food, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Elephants travel long distance for this abundance of water and food, Moremi National Park, Botswana

With constant water supply and fresh green grass, it is no wonder that the biggest concentration of elephants is in the Okavango Delta.

Grazing elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Grazing elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Moving in and out of the neighbouring countries, they can be seen almost anywhere.

Elephant crossing, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Elephant crossing, Moremi National Park, Botswana

I often had elephants appearing out of nowhere in front off Zimba. Hunting and poaching in the 70’ies and 80’ies reduced numbers drastically, the surviving elephants fled the scene. Recovering in large numbers since there is talk about reducing numbers again. I really hope not. Elephants cover large distances and are often seen in, or near human settlements. Their sheer body strength causes a lot of damage to flora and structure, their immense appetite causes headaches to farmers.

A vary elephant, Moremi National Park, Botswana

A vary elephant, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Despite all human interaction, the elephants in Botswana are wary but non-aggressive, even calm and placid.

Should I or shouldn’t I?, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Should I or shouldn’t I?, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Elephants can produce up to 150 kg off shite a day.

Literally wet and wild at Moremi National Park, Botswana

Literally wet and wild at Moremi National Park, Botswana

Elephants love, love, love water. Frolicking to cool down is part of their of social fun. The whole body submerges often, leaving only the trunk surfacing, a mammal submarine.

A la carte menu, Moremi National Park, Botswana

A la carte menu, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Unless there are some juicy water plants to be eaten.

Mud shower, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Mud shower, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Mud is normally the second course. Keeping the skin cool and parasites at bay. Bulls often spray their elephant-sized penis with mud.

Black African elephant, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Black African elephant, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The darker the soil the darker the elephant appears.

Deep in thoughts, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Deep in thought, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Some were literally black. If nothing else, then sand and dust works as an insect repellent.

Leaking a glance, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Leaking a glance, Moremi National Park, Botswana

When in musth, elephant bulls release a liquid from their gland behind their eyes. Pumped with adrenaline, they can be unpredictable. No anger was witnessed by myself.

Big big smile, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Big big smile, Moremi National Park, Botswana

What amazed me most was their facial expressions. Most of the time happy and smiling,

Definitely a huggable face, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Definitely a huggable face, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Sometimes thoughtful or tired, or even scared.

Slightly scared, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Slightly scared, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Almost human-like. The elephant body language is fairly easy to read. 

Feeding close up, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Feeding close up, Moremi National Park, Botswana

This huge bull was enjoying food and drinks by the river.

Sunlight exposes individual muscles, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Sunlight exposes individual muscles, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The angle I was parked in, I got a good view of the parts I don’t see very often.

Setting sails, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Setting sails, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Flapping his ears to keep his cool,

Map off Africa? Moremi National Park Botswana

Map of Africa? Moremi National Park Botswana

shows his veins running through his ears like rivers on a map.

Impressive trunk size, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Impressive trunk size, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The trunk alone can weigh up to 50 kg’s and contains about 40 000 muscles, without bone structure.

Trunk action, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Trunk action, Moremi National Park, Botswana

This makes a trunk extremely flexible.

Twisting and twirling, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Twisting and twirling, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Particularly younger elephants show some impressive trunk acrobatics.

Youngster showing the middle finger, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Youngster showing the middle finger, Moremi National Park, Botswana

At the end of the trunk is a finger-shaped muscle, able to grab and hold on to grass and smaller items. This big bull came from inland and has not been in the water, yet.

Pinocchio? Moremi National Park, Botswana

Pinocchio? Moremi National Park, Botswana

Not far were these two young elephants, who had just been in the water. One of them looks like Pinocchio.

The rest of the herd didn’t quite make it to the water, as I surprised them coming around the corner.

Youngsters tip to toe, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Youngsters tip to toe, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Having two very young calves, the matriarch ordered a quick retreat in the bush for now. Sorry.

Surrounded by elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Surrounded by elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

There were literally elephants everywhere along the River Kwai, emerging from the hot inland plains to cool down.

More elephant arrivals, Moremi National Park, Botswana

More elephant arrivals, Moremi National Park, Botswana

While I was watching this young ‘black’ bull with his antics, another herd on the other side of the river was heading straight for the water in quick fashion.

At last in the water, Moremi National Park, Botswana

At last in the water, Moremi National Park, Botswana

These were thirsty and longing for refreshments.

Swimming lessons, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Swimming lessons, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Having small calves, this was bound to be a family affair in their local swimming pool.

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And that is exactly what it was. Hastily reaching the edge of the water, no time was wasted for a cool of. I couldn’t get my finger of the OM-D button, this was just too good to be true.

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Like a family visit to ‘wet and wild’, this herd was ready for some water fun. Particularly the young ones made the most of it.

Humpback elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Humpback elephants, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Climbing on mom’s back to slide off again. 

Literally black and white, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Literally black and white, Moremi National Park, Botswana

From a photographer’s point of you, the water adds dramatically to the picture.

Shiny new, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Shiny new, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The wet skin shines and reflects the afternoon sun’s rays.

Tuxedo, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Tuxedo, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Half body water lines appear like bodysuits, or even masks.

The mask off Zorro, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The mask of Zorro, Moremi National Park, Botswana

This one could be named ‘Zorro’.

Just checking, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Just checking, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Every now and then, a quick glance over to my direction was taken.

Feeding frenzy, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Feeding frenzy, Moremi National Park, Botswana

I wasn’t that interesting, back to more important things.

Don’t play with your food, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Don’t play with your food, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The few small calves enjoyed the idea of having a bath immensely.

Please take a seat whilst eating, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Please take a seat whilst eating, Moremi National Park, Botswana

OM-D, so cute.

All swing to the left, Moremi National Park, Botswana

All swing to the left, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Zimba and I were parked only a few meters away from the edge of the river. When these elephants came out of the river on our side, they had gotten very close to us. Even though no aggressive body language was shown, it has gotten a bit too close for my comfort.

That zebra is scary, Moremi National Park, Botswana

That zebra is scary, Moremi National Park, Botswana

With very young elephants and protecting mothers, I decided to switch the ignition on, just in case. To my surprise, this caused panic by the herd. As if they hadn’t seen me or due to Zimba’s zebra painting, didn’t expect a car. 

Happy elephant in sepia, Moremi National Park, Botswana

A happy elephant in sepia, Moremi National Park, Botswana

A bit further on was this very happy Chappy. He had put on his gumboots to cross the river.

Early afternoon reflections, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Early afternoon reflections, Moremi National Park, Botswana

The lower sinking afternoon sun reflected his happy soul on the calm waters. By this stage, I wasn’t going to take any more elephant photos, but who could resist this combination? 

Keeping a good eye out, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Keeping a good eye out, Moremi National Park, Botswana

A similar scenario happened next. A herd of 3 elephants was drinking in shallow waters. Ok, I have seen that before.

Shame the sun was just a little too high, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Shame the sun was just a little too high, Moremi National Park, Botswana

But with the sinking sun shining over the animal and water, how could I resist.

Sunset stroll along the water, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Sunset stroll along the water, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Black shadows and reflections were dominating in orange background. Wow, what a way to finish this day.

Orange glow, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Orange glow, Moremi National Park, Botswana

Simply Elephantastic, the best word to describe it. 

2 thoughts on “Elephantastic River Kwai, Moremi National Park, Botswana

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