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The Safari Talk Six go on an Elephant Adventure.


penolva

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wilddog

It looks to me that you all loved every minute of this trip :)

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I posted an invitation to ST members almost two years ago inviting others to join us on a return visit to the DSWT reintegration sites for orphaned elephants rescued by the trust. After much discussio

Onto the most important reason for our trip, the elephants.   Morning at Ithumba. A very early wake up call as the elephants rise at 6am for the morning in the bush with their keepers. They

As @Pamshelton3932 explains the trip reloved around the elephants and anything else is a bonus. Our days at Ithumba Hills followed the same pattern. Up for coffee and leave for the stockades and the o

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penolva
1 hour ago, wilddog said:

It looks to me that you all loved every minute of this trip :)

@wilddog We had an amazing time and really enjoyed the company of our fellow ST companions.

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Amylovescritters

I am wondering if there is room for another STer in 2021. I also support DSWT orphans and both  Ithumba and Umani Springs are on high on my wish list, for sure. 

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Kitsafari

I can see why you loved and enjoyed every minute of it. wonderful photos of the eles.

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penolva
7 hours ago, Amylovescritters said:

I am wondering if there is room for another STer in 2021. I also support DSWT orphans and both  Ithumba and Umani Springs are on high on my wish list, for sure. 

Hi @Amylovescritters we have another trip arranged for February 2021. If you are interested I can send you details in a private message. There is still room. Pen

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These pictures make me so happy! We had a private visit three years ago it we were really jostled around when all the babies came in for their bottles. Was it scary being near the big tuskers?

 

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Pamshelton3932

@plambers I never felt uncomfortable around any of the elephants.  The head keeper at Ithumba where the big boys frequent, was named Benjamin.  He knew each one so well and which ones needed a wide berth and which ones didn't.  He was extremely attentive to us and kept our safety as his number one priority.  He could point his finger and say "NO!" and the 14 foot elephant would obey.  I think he really has a gift.  Some of these elephants are totally wild, yet Benjamin knew how to get them to listen to him. 

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penolva

@plambers We had the best time with the elephants. Having them come up to you of their own accord or brush past you as they go to the waterhole is wonderful. As @Pamshelton3932 says we were looked after by Benjamin and later Amos at Umani Springs. They make sure you are safe and after spending time with the elphants you begin to feel part of the herd. Pen

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penolva

At Ithumba it is possible to drive to the Tiva river on a game drive. We took our lunch with us and explored. There are beautiful baobab trees in the area. The river was very dry and we were glad to see rain clouds gathering. On our way back to camp the following morning we were thrilled to meet the pack of wild dogs just before the camp gate. They were drinking and playing in a waterhole just beside the road. The best bit was when the alpha female barked at us. 

 

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The following morning we said goodbye to Ithumba Hill and all the staff. We gave the camp manager a lift to Kibwezi and he and George helped us with the shopping there. The market is very interesting and a visit to the butchers shop is a must!

 

As we left camp we were came up to some elephants. We were so happy to see that Lili was there with her mother and she rolled and played in the mud just beside our vehicle. What a wonderful farewell.

 

 

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penolva

Leaving Ithumba and shopping in Kibwezi. Next stop Umani Springs and @blindbumpy and his partner join us.

 

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penolva

Umani Springs is only half an hour or so away from Kibwezi but once you enter the forest all signs and sounds of habitation dissapear. The lodge is beautiful and there are bushbucks, birds and other wildlife around. There are only  a small number of orphans living there as Umani is the place an elephant with an injury is sent to live. They have often been caught in a snare that causes terrible wounds and would usually make it difficult for them to live back in the wild. Some are there because they came with their injured friend from the orphanage. At Umani you get to know each elephant very well and the keepers encourage you to interact with them all. The mornings start early and we went to the stockade for the 6am milk and then fed the elephants Acacia Tree pods and lucern pellets before they left for the bush. The baboons took the opportunity to eat the left over pellets.

 

Mwashoti is a favourite of everyone as he is so sweet and gentle. He has a bad injury from a snare that the poachers had set. The snare cut deep into his ankle and he was unable to walk. His mother stayed with him and the herd moved on. As the days passed and DSWT monitored the situation it became apparent that he would die without help. He was rescued after his mother rejoined the herd and taken to the orphanage in Nairobi. He is also very greedy for the pods and pellets. Ziwa climbed onto the wall and towered above us all. He is showing signs of returning to the wild. The keepers say that despite their injuries they believe some of the Umani orphans will go back to the wild against all the odds. There are wild elephants in the area so this may well happen in the next year or so. Another success story for DSWT. 

 

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penolva

A few photographs around the lodge.

 

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We cooked the goat and enjoyed some special wine @optig had brought with him. 

 

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Wildlife in the grounds

 

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@penolva Yes, I did enjoy both the goat and the wine.  Yes, it was a great trip for me.

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penolva

Mid day waterhole at Umani Springs. Running in for their milk. rolling in the mud and dust bathing. A fun time was had by all. 

 

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We also got big hugs from Mawshoti and photobombed.

 

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Some practice for the future!

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Our group smiling at @blindbumpy partner who literally threw herself into the mud bath experience. :)

 

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penolva

One afternoon some of our group walked to the actual spring. To see so much clear fresh water in a very dry area was beautiful. It is taken by pipe to the lodge, elephants and the local community. 

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In the evenings the orphans come running in for their milk and freshly cut greens and then spend the night inside the stockades. We collected Acacia Tree pods and fed them through the bars. They were there for safety and seemed very happy and well cared for. Until they grow strong they would not survive outside in the wild. The orphans soon learned we kept the pods in our hats, pockets or bags and helped themselves. 

 

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The last evening it rained hard and we all got muddy. 

 

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Thank you for following along. Needless to say we are already planning a return visit! Pen

Edited by penolva
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Just an amazing adventure! Who would have thought you could get that close even to wild elephants and be completely safe. That must have been thrilling. Getting ellie hugs and kisses? Unbeatable. And to see that tiny Lili so close up and comfortable with humans around must have been especially thrilling. 

The handlers there look so happy caring for their charges and look at their results. Astounding. 

I’m very impressed with the whole DWST Operation and their success. In fact, I think you should go on TV and do a fundraiser for them using your experience, pics, and videos to spread awareness of how successful they are at reintegration of injured elephants. You would make a great Ellie ambassador!

Thank you all for sharing your experience with us!

 

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penolva

@KaliCA Thank you for your lovely message. It certainly was a thrilling expeience. I did take the opportunity at the orphanage and at Island Camp to 'sell' the whole DSWT story and several people said that going to Ithumba etc was now on their agenda. Pen

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  • 3 months later...

Great report @penolva it looks like you might have had an even better trip this time. You really are a great ambassador for dswt and it's good to see so many people going now. It's quite disappointing I can't join you you in 2021 but it's good to see you have a full house on that trip. 

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penolva
6 minutes ago, dlo said:

Great report @penolva it looks like you might have had an even better trip this time. You really are a great ambassador for dswt and it's good to see so many people going now. It's quite disappointing I can't join you you in 2021 but it's good to see you have a full house on that trip. 

Hi and glad you enjoyed the story of our last visit. Hopefully you can join us another time. Pen

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  • 4 months later...
penolva

I have to tell you all that my darling husband John died on 7 June 2020 from a massive heart attack. We had no warning. I am heartbroken. Looking at his happy smiling face on this trip report reminds me of the wonderful time we had in Kenya with our elephants. We had such wonderful holidays together and I miss him so much. Pen :(

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Botswanadreams

Hold tight to memories for comfort, lean on your friends for strength, and always remember how much you are cared about. Please accept my sincere condolences. 

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Towlersonsafari

What horrid news, Jane and I are so sorry to hear that, it was a pleasure to accompany you both through your trip reports, and share your love of africa. 

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Zubbie15

So sorry to hear of your loss @penolva, my deepest sympathies in your loss. 

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michael-ibk

Dear Pen, I am so sorry for your loss, my sincere condolencies! 

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