Tag Archives: Highveld Plateau

Tembo the Elephant

Besides elephants, rhinos, hippos, buffaloes and various types of antelopes today in Kruger Park, we came across the perfect specimen of Afrikaner redneck, Arthur, pro big game hunting, anti arm-control and pro-Trump. I should have taken a picture of him. But, missing that I’m sending one of me with Tembo the elephant. It might look more like a tree trunk than an elephant, but I swear it’s an elephant, the photographer just had a warped sense of perspective.

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I swear, it is a real elephant!

Tembo is a tame elephant. Intelligent and sensitive, with eyes to melt your heart, he is accustomed to stand patiently and put up with us, pesky tourists. Hazyview éléphant oeil_8414_previewOf course, I could have pretended that I tamed him from the wild and coaxed him into such accommodating behavior, but I strongly suspect that nobody would have believed me. In fact, we visited an elephant camp where they rescue injured or orphaned animals. Tembo had an interesting history of escaping a reserve after fighting with a rogue elephant who had opened a breach into the fence. The rogue’s intention being to come after Tembo’s sister which the latter gallantly defended. Followed a series of misdeeds and more fights until he was brought into this camp where he retired from his misspent youth.
Anyhow, I wish the photographer had caught the whole elephant, rather than just a leg. It would have been more… credible.
This elephant camp had nothing to do with the one in Laos where I found myself a few years ago, the only visitor to ride the elephants in the mountain at night and pick them up at dawn, muddy and dusty, for a much needed early morning bath in the freezing river.IMG_0569
Talking about freezing, you can probably tell, from the way I’m dressed, that it’s not exactly warm here.
We arrived last night in the Machadodorp area, on the Highveld plateau at about 2,000 meter altitude. It looks somewhat like the English countryside, as if it had been photographed with a wide-angle lens, the same rolling hills, greenery and horses grazing, but expanded, stretched out to a very far away horizon. Except that in England, the same scenery would have been compressed, closed in.g1907604

We stayed in Kloppenheim, a sumptuous country estate. my huge room could have belonged to an English manor: fireplace, French doors opening to a terrace overlooking an endless panorama, heated bed, bathtub with boiling water:french-country-bedroom-ceiling-light-decor

And TV5 relating the latest shenanigans of Saudi Arabia: Have they kidnapped Harari or did he, as a supporter of Saudi Arabia, seek refuge in Riyad ?
But… no Internet!

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