Coffee and Elephants

7 05 2010

Early morning and the Laikipia landscape

Crunch, crunch. It was early. Without moving to check the clock I could tell it was before 6. The sun wasn’t even up; just the orange golden glow slowly rising from the East penetrating the silky mist and cool blue of the magical morning hour. Crunch, crunch. There it was again. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes I tried to focus my vision on the bedroom window to my right where the sound was originating from. Nothing. The window was completely dark. Too lazy to crawl out of bed and actually take a look, I laid my head back down and instantly drifted back to sleep.

Moments later. Crunch, crunch. My eyes shot open and suddenly the darkness of the window shifted. Wait, it moved? It definitely wasn’t the sky I was seeing, but still half asleep I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on. And then a long trunk whipped around and I realized I was staring at a giant bull elephant’s behind. He was too busy chewing the long grass and scratching his tough skin against the acacia to realize he was being gawked at through the window. Not wanting to startle the large beast, I silently crawled out of bed. The bull was only two feet from me, but any thrill was nullified by the fact that we were separated by a stone wall. So to make things more interesting I grabbed my jacket and camera and crept out the back door.

The one responsible for my early morning

One, two, three, four… twenty-two. Instead of greeting one elephant, I happened upon an entire troop – all of whom were no more than ten feet away.  Now we’re talking! Getting as close as I dared (one more step and I could have touched them) I began snapping away with my camera getting some interesting close-ups. Pausing from their feeding every once in a while to glance up at me, they seemed indifferent to my presence. The younger ones were a bit more intrigued by this alien-looking creature but soon decided I was boring and moved on.

I hung out with the elephants for about a half hour until the whole group slowly migrated over the escarpment. I’ve been close to elephants, including riding a tamed one, but never this close and with so many. Maybe they’ll let me join in the Breakfast Club again sometime.

Some of the group with a clear Mt. Kenya in the background

Still in awe, I made some coffee and sat out on the veranda going through my photos. Soon I was joined by some Hornbill friends who noisily began chatting away, giving me the bird gossip.

Joining me for coffee




One response

7 05 2010

Sounds like a wonderful way to start the day!

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