The late start of the bush fires this year has meant that food for the elephants and other wildlife in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park has lasted longer than normal. The fires started in earnest about two weeks ago, and because it is now so dry most of the grass and many trees have burnt. The sky is constantly hazy, the smoke burns your eyes and throat and everywhere you look you can see plumes of smoke billowing above the horizon.
The elephants are hungry and on Monday night we had our first incursion of the season. Piet received the call at around 01.30 in the morning and was out until just after sunrise – luckily he and the guards managed to keep the elephants out of the wheat.
Late Monday afternoon we were driving through the park when we came across a herd of around 60 elephants eating in a small patch of bush that has escaped the fires; we think it was the same herd that came to try to sample our wheat that night.
Would you believe there’s an elephant standing right behind this bush? You can just make out its outline: