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Walking with the elephants & Duba Plains

Walking with the elephants & Duba Plains

Day 2 | 3 December 2007

I was woken up at 06h00 this morning by a very sweet lady with a tray of coffee, and she said “I should slowly start to get ready to meet the rest of my party the other 6 agents I was traveling with - at 07h00 for breakfast.”

Breakfast was great and then it was off to walk with elephants in the wild. I was a bit skeptical about this as I have heard of elephants losing their cool and not caring too much about what is in their way when they start to throw a hissy fit. Anyway, as I was one of only two guys on the trip I didn’t want to look like too much of a baby and all the ladies were really excited. Off we went. We were met by an extremely knowledgeable gentleman from America who has been living in South Africa for 20 years and by the amount he knew about elephants I am sure he had been studying them for 40 years.

While he was giving us the do’s and don’ts of the bush I heard something in the bush - the next minute a giant of an animal appeared and I had to use all my willpower not to run off into the bush screaming like a five year old.

I have never seen such big animals so close up and with no fence in between. They are really huge. Their skin is very dry and they could definitely use a litre of moisturiser or two. After hearing about the DNA of the elephant and everything else that goes into making an elephant an elephant we started to walk with them in the bush. It was quite an experience and definitely one I will not forget. I almost had a sense of calm because these animals are so huge I assured myself not even a lion would want to come near them.

Cheers! An extra dinner guest.We saw them drinking water and splashing them themselves (something I wished I could do as it was about 40 degrees in the shade). After a few hours we come across a clearing in the bush with a beautiful table set and an amazing bush buffet with ice cold drinks for lunch.

While we ate, the elephants walked around us almost protecting us from the rest of the bush. One word springs to mind as to how I felt as this moment and that is “surreal” a more surreal experience I have never had.
On the way back to Stanley’s Camp we stopped at Baines Camp to have a look. What an amazing spot!

The rooms are unbelievable and the beds are on wheels so while you are eating dinner the staff pull them out onto your private deck and you sleep under the stars, if the weather’s good. Naturally the mosquito nets move too, and I think that is a really nice touch to be able to sleep outside. The management couple at Baines are great and they instill a sense of confidence in you as they really know what they are doing. The lounge and outdoor communal areas of the lodge are great as well and the views from all around are breathtaking.

Then it was back to Stanley’s to pack as we were off to Duba Plains for our next night. On arrival at Stanleys, a British gentleman who had just arrived asked me if I had seen the wreck of the plane that crashed last week. I threw him a death-stare as I was about to get onto one of those little planes to fly off to the other lodge.

Duba Plains is amazing. Beautiful rooms, very spacious and really luxurious compared to where we had come from. Again we where warned not to walk anywhere at night as there are many wild animals but I assured them I would stay in my room and they had no reason to worry. The game drive was great, lots of game and not as long as the camp before.

Dinner was superb and it just amazed me how they could make you feel like you are sitting at a 5-star restaurant. As the seven of us were the only people in the camp dinner was an extremely festive occasion until Paul, the ex-manager of the camp - mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was not really doing any good in the world. I unfortunately don’t agree with this and felt I owed it to Paul to make this known. The wine I had had at dinner did help me get my point across. Anyway after a heated debate which ended somewhere close to midnight we all decided I was right and headed for bed.

Again, another amazing day in the bush.

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