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Kitchen Heist in Manapools; When a Bull Elephant Robbed Our Kitchen in Zimbabwe's Wildernes


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In the heart of Mucheni 2, within the enchanting wilderness of Manapools, Zimbabwe, an unexpected visitor disrupted our tranquil morning—a majestic bull elephant with a penchant for culinary exploration. As I patiently filmed the rhythmic river crossings of waterbucks, I was immersed in capturing the grace of nature. My anticipation reached a peak as the waterbucks prepared to traverse the water after a wait of 1 1/2 hours. Just then, my wife's urgent calls interrupted my cinematic pursuit, signaling an unexpected turn of events. Resisting the call initially, I finally acknowledged her louder plea, revealing an unlikely intruder—the bull elephant had stealthily approached our camper, driven by an inquisitive interest in our mobile kitchen and its contents. Our provisions were limited to vegetables—cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, and tomatoes—along with some fresh nuts, deliberately devoid of fruits to avoid attracting elephants. However, it appeared that this resourceful pachyderm had learned that our kitchen held treasures worth investigating. A dilemma unfolded as Natalie was in the “secure” confines of the camper, leaving me exposed on the riverbank. Despite my familiarity with elephant encounters, confronting a sizable bull on foot always instills a sense of excitement. Swiftly, I sprinted to the car, clapping my hands to little effect. Realizing the need for a more decisive approach, I revved the engine, creating a cacophony that prompted the majestic intruder to retreat temporarily. Regrettably, the respite was short-lived. Upon silencing the engine, the elephant resumed its inquisitive foray into our kitchen, undeterred by my attempts to dissuade it. Faced with limited options, I hatched a spontaneous plan—I maneuvered the car away, with the stripped-down tent and my wife in tow. Miraculously, the tactic worked, and the bull elephant ambled away in peaceful solitude. Fortuitously, my wife had a camera with a 70-200mm lens stashed in the car, enabling us to document this surreal encounter. In the end, our belongings, the car, and the elephant all emerged unscathed, marking the successful resolution of an unexpected rendezvous with wildlife in the heart of the Zimbabwean wilderness.



Johan and Natalie Seekles

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