Elephants of the Grumeti Wildlife Reserve

A rare moment in the Grumeti when the landscape was alive with elephants...

The Grumeti Wildlife Reserve of Northern Tanzania is not one of the most concentrated game area in the region, and certainly you will not see the vigorous populations of antelope and other African wildlife associated with the nearby Serengeti National Park. However you never know when you will run into a delightful surprise.

This happened today, a Sunday, with nothing much to do at the Grumeti Luxury Tented Camp, and no guests, I jumped into the Land Rover and took off across country to see what there was to be seen.

Immediately I ran into a herd of about 100 or so Zebra on the signature burned plains of the Grumeti Wildlife Reserve that had not been around the night before. This sort of encounter is pleasant, but in a place like this hardly remarkable. However a few minutes later I nosed through a gap in a line of low hills and entered a valley of elephants. I would guess about 200 or more of these beautiful creatures were quietly grazing over an area of about half a square mile.

It is not rare to see one or two elephant around anywhere in the Serengeti Region, but to run into a herd like this is definitely a moment to savour. And this I did. There was no a soul around, no tourists, no guides, no trucks and no rangers. Just me, a beautiful Sunday morning, not a tsetse fly in sight, and a Garden of Eden spread out before me.

The herd comprised a good many adults, and elephants being matriarchal in temper, most of these were female, but there were also a good many young males included, and many babies of various ages too.

It is with babies around that you have to careful, and in fact the Grumeti Wildlife Reserve elephants, I have noticed, tend to be quite aggressive. However, initially at least, there was no sense of this. It was only when I crept a little too close that one of the mothers flapped her ears and gave me fair warning with a mock charge. After a few more pix I respected her concern and backed off.

Despite this I mingled with the herd for an hour or more before quietly leaving. Just another day in the Grumeti Wildlife Reserve…

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