It’s Monday 6th October 2008 and the Elephants Come For Tea

It’s Monday 6th October 2008 and the Elephants Come For Tea

While I was musing about what to write for this week’s newsletter I received a letter from Vicky, the caterer at Nsefu, volunteering a story about her visitors … so it seemed very appropriate that we should continue the recent tradition of hearing from someone else rather than me!! (Fiona)  … So here I am handing over to Vicky …

I have put together a draft “It’s Monday” regarding the frequent elephant visits to Nsefu – I know this wasn’t specifically requested however I was feeling rather inspired after their regular visits and after being asked a while back for an “It’s Monday” about the animals around Nsefu. However it seems that the elephants are the most predictable visitors and therefore easiest to catch on camera …of course whenever the lions or a leopard come to visit, my camera is nowhere near me!

Vicky giggling behind the barElephants close to Nsefu

During my first season working as a caterer at Nsefu, I have encountered guests from all over the world, and in many guises – regulars and first timers, newly-weds and newly-retired.  This I expected.  What I was not prepared for however was a certain type of repeat guest, of the four-legged variety and packing a rather large trunk! As we are reaching the hottest part of the season, the local elephants are now a regular feature: whether it is to enjoy a cooling mud bath in the lagoon near the bar or take an afternoon snack from the trees around the camp.

Debs and elephant  at the barElephants enjoying a  tasty snack by the bar

Perhaps they know the excitement they cause when they do make an appearance, or just simply like to cause mischief by barricading guests in at the bar when I’m trying to get lunch underway.  Recently, they have come so close to what I think must be their first ever step actually into the bar. Although my first instinct is to stay as still as possible, my second is to ask said elephant if it would prefer a Mosi or a G&T … however the nearby water of the Luangwa River still seems to remain their tipple of choice, despite their ever encroaching appearances at the Nsefu bar.

Using a tree to get the perfect shotElephant by the chalets

It is never a dull moment when they’re around and during my time here I have become a particular fan of their regular visits. There is something magical about having these huge wild animals deign you with their presence.  Once you have had a huge matriarch look at you straight in the eyes (whilst I was safely ensconced on the deck of one of the guest chalets, I hasten to add!), and stare at you unblinkingly from under her huge eyelashes, you realise that it is for moments like this that you have come to Africa.  And it is the sillier moments too – like watching the cheeky baby elephant try and charge a lingering water buck before realising that it is not so big and powerful after all and subsequently scampers back to the safety of Mama’s hind legs!

Too close to make use of the telescopeYoung-uns playing in a  muddy lagoon

I know some of you have shared with us at Nsefu the wonderful experience that is the visiting elephants – for those that haven’t, I’ll let the photos sum it up as it is very difficult to do it justice with words!  It has certainly been one of the highlights of the season for me, and something I’ll always miss when I am away from the valley.

Quintessential shot of elephants in front of NsefuReceiving the look ...

Right, time to go and find a cool drink – if only we could bathe leisurely in the Luangwa River like our four-legged friends!

All the best,


Enjoying the Luangwa water rather than a  mosi

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