Year’s end 30 December 2016 Elemoments

Goodbye 2016

Yesterday, the day before the end of the year was a day that began with rain and ended without water. But that’s another story.

To escape the water crisis that had me puzzled, I decided to take the Landie on a really worn and eroded little track I call Nyala road, through the lowest point and the deepest drainage line on Mansimvula, where a little water collects after good rains, a tranquil place I call Nyala pond.

As small as it is, there have been times that I have been able to immerse myself in it and it can be quite refreshing on a hot and humid summers day.

Once, whilst lying prone among the flooded grasses, with dragonflies and damselflies filling the air like fairies, an ele came to splash too and we had a bit of a stand-off as to whose pond it was on that particular day. We ended up sharing.

After the pond, I ventured to the Ntsiri riverbed in the hope that there would finally be water after a week of heavy showers and soaking rain. The Ntsiri River is a large, dry watercourse for almost 360 days a year and only flows after heavy rains late in summer. 

A trickle ran through the riverbed

And there was, though not the muddy flowing torrent that is often a result of flash floods. I didn’t really expect that. Instead, a continuous stretch of slow-moving surface water reflected the sky in a mirrored streak from as far upriver as I could see. It reminded me of the trickle that sustained so much life, so far up the Mwagusi River, in Ruaha.

I was just filming the green paradise that has emerged after so long a drought and was in such awe at the sight and pervasive tranquillity. The sun was blocked by banks of cloud and it was near sunset with the light fading fast. Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, an ele bull stood next to the big Leadwood on the opposite bank and a herd of buffalo munched noisily not far upstream.

Nature gives us these perfect moments where so many factors come together to please and calm the soul and, invariably, it is impossible to photograph, film or capture but in the heart and memory.

And so I endeavor to share it here. Albeit brief.

Whilst focusing on this wonderful sight of a riverbed sunset with an ele, my spirits lifted at the sight of a large family of ele moms and their calves emerging from beyond the riverine scrub and descending to the riverbed with that wonderful head-rolling, ear-flapping gait.

I was soon surrounded by ele’s as they crossed the riverbed and fanned out on my side of the river and slowly made their way up the rocky hillside around me.

Naturally, the younger Bulls were last to emerge and as they did so, the small herd of buff followed in their wake. One young ele bull, a teenager not much bigger than the biggest of the buffalo bulls, tried to intimidate a big dagga boy and his delight was evident as he strutted on the bank with his head high and ears held out, quivering with rigidity and defiance as the old bovid fled across the shallow water to the other side.

A young ele bull after confronting an old buff bull

The second bull he tried it with, a notably large old crank, hesitated at first and then, like an animated cartoon, he huffed and puffed and arched his back as he began to buck like a bronco, thrashing at Spike-thorn branches that got in the way, trying his best to intimidate back. 

Since the young ele bull was only marginally bigger and the buffalo’s horns intimately more threatening, the young ele backed off and found safer ground closer to the herd.

As daylight faded and I sat in the dark typing my thoughts on a small phone screen with the glow the only light, another large ele bull began to break branches right next to me, eventually standing in front of the Landie, peering over the front, only slightly visible on the edge of the glow.

Later today I may venture out to meet up with some humans. It is, after all, the end of the year.  A year I want to see close.

And if course the ele’s couldn’t give a hoot.

Happy New Year!

Love Ya Lots.

All y’all!

3 thoughts on “Year’s end 30 December 2016 Elemoments”

  1. I finally found you. So glad you are keeping everyone posted. I still bring up old youtubes of you guiding even watch that elephant spear your vehicle. Love you and take care.

  2. Will wait patiently for your time… You made this one picture perfect, Marc! Hope your Christmas was good and New Year brings miracles! ~Fairygram

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