Walking with Elephants

Their footsteps vibrated the ground underneath my feet. If I had my eyes closed, I would have assumed there was an earthquake. They swung their trunks to and fro, grabbing plants and feeding themselves, smiling the whole time. The mother and her two children walked around, oblivious to the fact that there were so many of us there gawking at their beauty.

I was at the Glen Afric Country Lodge in Hartbeespoort, South Africa. My group (ISV) and I were participating in one of the activities the hotel has to offer: an elephant walk.

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I love elephants. I have elephant pants, an elephant shirt, rings, a ring holder, statues, a tapestry and posters. Being able to walk next to elephants and pet them was truly remarkable. They are such beautiful creatures. Their skin feels like a mix between an eraser and an itchy rug, but the skin behind their ears is smooth. Their eyes are the size of my palm. We can’t hear the communication between the elephants, it’s inaudible to humans. Elephants just eat all day until they go to sleep (sounds like the greatest life to me). We weren’t allowed to touch their tails- they’re ticklish! How funny is that? And, if you’re in their way, then your loss…

If they’re walking towards you, then move, because if you don’t, they will keep walking right over you,” the worker caring for the elephants said.

Oh, great. That would make an interesting story. I pretty much played tag with the elephants. They would walk towards me, I would run away in fear of getting stepped on, and they would end up walking towards me again. I ended up standing next to them to pet them a few times, ready to sprint away if they decided to suddenly change directions. I even managed to get this picture in:

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And this one:

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We also saw zebra, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, and giraffes walking around the resort. The mother and her two children were walking around, minding their own business. To have such a large animal walk around next to you was an experience in itself, and it left me with an excitement I have never experienced before.

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