A feast of elephants!..

Traffic jam on a very narrow path in the north Ndotos.. !!

A feast indeed.. for our eyes, and to keep our adrenalin levels high!… hundreds of elephants in the Northern part of the Ndotos and back on the Milgis lugga an elephant dies … A different kind of feast for all, of course!..

Mid last month, July, with the promise of a couple of safaris, we set off with the full team of camels and men towards the east side of the Ndoto Mountains, to Ngurnit, only, half way there, we found out the safari goers weren’t coming after all.. travel restrictions, quarantine, and finding flights etc….. blame it on C—D.. Every thing can be blamed on it..

We decided to take this as a message to forget all else in the world AND go on holiday.. Head north into the Ndotos, find new routes and walk with each Milgis scout and lkiramat.. let them show us their areas, and get to know them better… Check if there is any sign of poaching, finding out about forest destruction, following up on their own wildlife reports,( which they make every day to the Milgis base)… The camels needed the exercise, PLUS the team needed to be reminded how to do a safari!! So we walked for a month through paradise and beyond!! I recommend it to you all.. it was ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!.. We feel fantastic..

Our feast started with this in the Milgis Lugga. there is nothing like the incredible feeling of being on foot close to one of these giants.. .. this one was a little nervous as he was between us and the camels so he was pushing it..

sandwiched between the team ahead and the camels following he was a little nervous!
Even the guys with the camels took a little turn left wondering what his move would be..
finally settling down as he moves across.. remember the Milgis Lugga is about a km wide so its not a quick crossing!!

That evening I go for a little bird watch along the bank, where the water comes to the surface, at Leamu, dogs playing in the water..

Three banded plover, common sandpiper and green sand piper.. ( sandpipers.. quite surprised to see as they should be up north towards Europe!)
Upe and Poi turning into fabulous safari boys.. love life!! and fabulous protection.. One year old now..

I look up and there’s an eley just a few meters away.. Just drinking..!!

I’m yards from this elephant just quietly drinking, on the lugga..

Up and onwards towards the mountains.. and look what is waiting for us.. Hundreds and hundreds of happy elephants!!

the north Ndotos had a bit more rain than every where else in May, much to the Elephants delight.. And ours too.. Its a beautiful safe haven for them especially if there is water..
the peaks of the Ndotos .. Alimissio and Upe
The Ndotos are extremely steep, one of the beautiful rivulets flowing down..
Parkenua lugga.. A perfect saviour to our elephants..
across the valley a herd quietly pass us, not perturbed by our presence
‘Mum’ knows the way!

Onwards up into the Ndikir Lauri ( the camels pass) our ‘safari’ ( journey) takes us..

The camels quietly carrying our gear through each valley past all the gentle giants!
These two were wondering towards us down the lugga, we stepped on to the bank and told the dogs to sit!!
They keep coming!! The first one beginning to think, is there somebody ahead??
Pick a bit of sand and throw it around.. They are 15 feet from the advance team on the bank..
This one came 8 feet and stopped and looked at us.. the dogs sat and we stood still.. !!
And the full team with the camels just stood still, with nowhere else to go, but stand still and wait … The two elephants thought for a couple of minutes then sauntered off into the bushes to the other side of the lugga!

every night Lemagas diligently puts the camera out to catch who’s passing our camp..

Well this elephant did not like it.. he ripped the face off the camera and we found it 20 meters away covered in mud..
the face found a few meters away.. .. but amazingly the card still in tact..
Pete and Lemagas having a good laugh at our friends antics..
No doubt who did it!!! before the elephant managed to rip the camera apart he got a picture of himself!

onwards and forwards up into the mountains..

Up into this secret valley where the Elephants drink from a beautiful spring …elephant dung ALL over..
The water flows out of the side of the mountain and body guard fills our bottles with lovely clear water..
We fill up with water at this beautiful elephant drinking spot!! Funny camels are not as agile as elephants.. They can slip and fall along way with their long legs..
We opened up a BEAUTIFUL new route for the camels and our future safaris, and amazingly we had a lot of cloud and even a bit of rain…
The sunbirds are happy.. Plenty of this beautiful parasite in flower

Now back to the ‘road block’/traffic jam.. We were completely surrounded by elephants.. it was a narrow ridge and we spent the morning just watching..

the the gentleness between these two was just lovely..
Two lovely friends working out what the next move will be..

Our planned route was to follow up the ridge up to the top.. the elephants had a different idea for us..

We are not bored… look at our view!! .. We needed a day to take it all in..

Up on the little hill, up the ridge there, is this rather unhappy elephant.. there is something bothering him today..

This elephant was not happy for some reason.. We heard his trumpeting and breaking trees for quite a long time..
We respect their privacy, and leave them to their own day..

I have to remind you that ALL the elephants from Mounts Kulal, Nyiru, Ldonyo mara, and Ndotos, ie every animal north of the Milgis lugga except for Marsabit mountain were completely wiped out by poachers at the end of last century, although luckily some ran away to the safety of Samburu park and Laikipia..

And these are the ones showing the way..

A mountain side full of Elephants.. All happily going about their lives..
The place they all go to drink..

We sit on a rock and watch the elephants go about their day.. Because all the other Elephants were calm we decided maybe the agitated one got stung or something as none of the others took any notice!!

While the guy above is trumpeting and racing around this group are quite happy..
calm mothers with their young..

Sadly time to move on and for the next adventure…

Down a very steep mountain side, we say good bye to the elephants and mountains and head into the desert.. next blog will be full of fabulous desert scenes..
I don’t know what it is about the desert but every time one goes there one feels a sense of ‘complete’

Back home 3 weeks later we were sad to hear the news of a elephant that had died below our home… SAD of course BUT happy hyenas, lions, mongooses, bush pigs, etc.. plenty to eat for a few days, BUT fascinating to see how hard it is for them to break through the skin !..

Sad but these things happen… Of course lots of animals are happy for a meal!! What he died of is mystery, it seems he was just walking along and went down.. Maybe heart attack or the dreaded ‘lokuchum’ (septicaemia)

We managed to stick the camera back together and put it down at the dead elephant, but realised the lens is now pointing in a different direction.. But still managed to capture some of the happy visitors enjoying a feast!!

bush pig
striped hyena
honey badger
spotted hyenas

2 thoughts on “A feast of elephants!..

  1. Andrew and i have just lived your adventures through your beautiful blog…cheering up two of your biggest fans on a cold grey bank holiday monday in Norfolk!
    More, more, more pleeeeesse!

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