Water for Elephants in Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen The African Elephant and those amazing ears. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
The African Elephant and those amazing ears. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Donna resting, there are only three of us in the Jeep this afternoon with Frank. We quickly came across a herd of elephants with three “babies”. They were curious, but one of the “teenagers” did a mock charge to let us know not to get any closer. I noticed what looked like gashes along their faces. Frank explained that these were sweat glands that become more prominent when the animal becomes stressed. With little ones to protect, I am sure our presence was not exactly welcome.

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

We found more giraffes and I have now begun to notice their details. Their color varies just like ours; in giraffes some are whiter, some orange. The dark markings vary in shape and are unique to each individual animal. Some look like geometric shapes, others like leaf patterns. (I love this rented zoom lens and the close up views it provides.)

Our elephant herd was moving toward the river. We headed down to the dry riverbed to get a good vantage point to watch their bathing and found our lion pride still resting in the shade. We got even closer this time. They almost seemed to pose for us. Farther down the dry riverbed, a large extended family of baboons moved across. We repositioned ourselves just as the elephants got to the water. I am so sorry that Donna is missing this.

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

The matriarch led them into the water. While the little ones would completely submerge themselves, you could see the waterline across the larger elephants. We saw two play-fighting with their tusks and trunks. They used the crossing to drink, bathe, and play in the river.

Once again, it was the matriarch that led them out when they reached the other side. Then they used their trunks to throw sand of their backs to protect themselves from the sun. It seemed kind of backwards since they had just bathed, but I am sure the water helped to keep the sand stuck to their backs.

©Jean Janssen Dusting after the river bath, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Dusting after the river bath, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Hippos on the small islands in the Ruaha River, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Hippos on the small islands in the Ruaha River, Tanzania

After the show, we decided to cruise along the riverbank and see what we could see. There were lots of beautiful waterfowl and we found some hippos lounging on a little dry patch in the river. Frank said that when the water gets cold, they get out to warm up for a while. We took our break along the river. The chef always sends snacks to go with our preferred drinks.

We passed through the bush and saw more giraffes, baboons, impala, and waterbuck. I was able to capture a dik dik on film (think very small deer). They always seemed to get away before I could snap a picture. My last shot was the setting sun reflecting off a hippo eating grass in the shallow water of the Ruaha River.

©Jean Janssen Ruaha River, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Ruaha River, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen Dik Dik in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Dik Dik in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Tonight dinner was in the middle of the shallow riverbed of the Jongomero River just behind the lounge. The staff had lit luminaries to lead us out. A big bonfire
was built off to the side and a guard watched the banks and trees for “visitors”. After dinner when the night became chilly, others lingered over coffee. I walked over to the fire to enjoy the warmth and noted the guard’s watchful eye on the surroundings. Although you might not have even spotted him during dinner, he walked over and spoke to me as I approached. Even while exchanging friendly conversation, he never overlooked his primary goal of protecting the guests.

©Jean Janssen Lioness and her two-year male "cub" Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

©Jean Janssen
Lioness and her two-year male “cub”
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

About travelbynatasha

I am a retired attorney who loves to travel. Several years ago I began working on a Century Club membership achieved by traveling to 100 "foreign" countries. Today, at 49 years of age the count is at 82. Many were visited on land based trips. Some were cruise ports. Some were dive sites. Most have been fascinating.
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