Monday, May 23, 2011

Swimming Elephants of Kariba

I sometimes come across (actually, rather often), complete reporting tripe. This particular piece entitled ‘Rajan packs his trunk: World's only swimming bull elephant heads for retirement’ is one of these. Perhaps it may be very rare for elephants to swim in salt water, but in Africa, swimming elephants are well known. Some safari firms can even arrange for you to sit on them (semi-trained ones presumably) whilst they swim.

I saw swimming elephants in Kariba. Our guide explained that they ‘sense’ their generation passed on knowledge of routes taken to favourite foraging areas. When the lake was created they simply swam, still following the old path. 
According to urban legend (or should that be ‘bush lore’), National Park rangers once followed a couple of elephants, as they swam from Fothergill Island to Kariba Town - an astonishing 20 km. (approx) It took them 24 hours and staggered out completely exhausted.

Here is a lovely video of Kariba elephants swimming.

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