Deteema Springs Hwange- Elephant pecking order

Hi All

Wilbur Smith brought out a masterpiece thriller way back in 1995 called Elephant Song. I especially enjoyed reading it at the time because of the seemingly infinite detail the author had included towards the reader’s understanding of the very complex, yet close family bonds, that Elephants have. Recommended reading for those wanting to be Elephant Buffs.

I have just returned from the Hwange National Park where I spent two lovely nights in one of the 8 tented lodges that make up Machaba Safaris’ Deteema Springs (2 Hrs drive from Vic Falls). All of the fancy tents are secured atop wooden platforms standing on stilts overlooking one of their permanent, water springs. The spring situated just in front of our accommodation seemed to be a perennial source of copious amounts of saltwater. We were privileged to witness all sorts of wildlife wandering down to the pan – Hyena, Kudu, Buffalo and many others. Yet it was obvious to all that the king of that jungle is the Elephant.

Throughout the day, and night, there was a steady stream of young and old pachyderms coming down to the springs, in what appeared to be pre-ordained drinking times. Each new batch would come to a sudden stop just above the water hole – often with one of their legs held mid-air – for the Ele to check if the last batch had been given their “Last Round” call by the dominant Matriarch.  If someone came down too early they would be given a nudge with the tusks of the incumbent enhanced with a very loud, guttural call (apparently emanating from their stomachs).

When I awoke for the 5 am sunrise on my last day I walked out to the viewing platform after hearing very loud trumpeting from a couple of unhappy mothers – there were 3 young babies that could only have been around for a few days hiding under their Mum’s tums. 2 Hyena had snuck up on them and were about to do the dirty when they were, thankfully, spotted and chased off with their tails between their legs. A little while later we heard a loud commotion coming from where all the Baboons had spent the night. It sounded like the hyena’s patience had finally borne fruit (breakfast?) but they were out of sight.

Deteema currently have a great special offer that you might want to take up – check it out or send Nomsa an email to find out more or . Ciao Mike G.

PS read more about Deteema in our forthcoming Nzira Travel Zimbabwe that we are planning to have out in a few weeks time – potential advertisers please email

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