How do you photograph an elephant at Tau Game Lodge? One part at a time.

"When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers ". African proverb, meaning that the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful.




Before I am questioned about the state of my mental health in standing so close to a wild elephant, I will ask you to take the following into consideration.

1] There are not one but two fences between myself and this pachyderm, one of those being electrified.

2] This is an optical illusion. It was the reflection of both myself and this bull in the glass of a window behind me. But that said, it did make for an interesting image.

It was from this vantage point inside the Tau Game Lodge perimeter, that the close-up images in this post were obtained.




“The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye” is a line from ‘Oh what a beautiful morning’ from Oklahoma. However for this to be accurate, the corn would have to be an impossible 3m tall!

Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.




Although the Arch used the quote, “when eating an elephant, take one bite at a time,” its origins are attributed to General Creighton Abrams, who as a captain led a tank battalion in Belgium during World War II.




The normal daily water consumption for an elephant is about 100 – 200 liters and its trunk can accommodate around 9 litres.

Water in= water out. Elephants pee a LOT. About 45 to 56 litres per day.

Fun fact: They can also suck up three liters per second — a speed 30 times faster than a human sneeze.




The tip of the trunk is so sensitive and can pick leaves, pull bark off trees, and pick up objects as small as a single Marula berry. It can suck up a 4 litres of water to squirt into its mouth or over a hot back.

Elephants do not drink through their trunk, but use it to draw up liquid.




The tusks also protect the trunk, as it is valuable tool for drinking, breathing, and eating.




Elephants use their trunks in a variety of ways. They use it to drink, store and spray water, and they also blow air through it to communicate — their 110-decibel bellows can be heard for kilometers.

An elephant’s trunk is a marvel of biology. It has neither joints or bone, and is an appendage made of pure muscle that is capable of both uprooting trees and gingerly plucking individual leaves and also boasts a sense of smell more powerful than a bomb-sniffing dog.




Fun fact…or not that fun if you are an elephant. The trunk cannot be utilized scratch with. Trunks can lift 350 kg yet are able to pick up a single blade of grass without breaking it.




Elephant tusks are rootless similar to human baby teeth and do not regrow. However, elephant tusks will continue to grow in length throughout an elephant’s lifetime as long as they are not broken.




Did you know? Elephants have around 150,000 muscle units in their trunk. By comparison, there are only 600 muscles in the human body.

Their trunks are perhaps the most sensitive organ found in any mammal.





Elephants feel an immense amount of pain if someone cuts off their tusks. Tusks are deeply rooted incisors with nerve endings. When severed, those nerve endings are exposed and can easily become infected, leading to death.




Each elephant foot has 5 toes, but not every toe has a nail. Their feet are flat because of a large pad of gristle under each heel which acts as a shock absorber and helps them walk quietly.

Not only do elephants use their feet to walk, but they also use their feet to help communicate as they can feel seismic vibrations through the ground.

Did you know? The Elephant’s Foot is the nickname given to a large mass of corium and other materials formed underneath the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near Pripyat, Ukraine, during the Chernobyl disaster of April 1986, notable for its extreme radioactivity.




An upward-pointed elephant trunk is said to bring energy, luck, prosperity and kindness. The elephant raises its trunk to greet friends and express happiness.




Elephant tusks are actually enlarged incisor teeth which first appear when elephants are around 2 years old. Tusks continue growing throughout their lives. Tusks are used to help with feeding – removing bark from trees or digging up roots – or as a defense when fighting.




Elephants use their trunks to suck up water to drink – it can contain up to 9 litres of water.

Elephants can go up to 4 days without water but they can also use their trunks and tusks to dig wells in dry river beds to search for a water supply. Elephants tend to stay near water sources but they can smell water from five kilometers away.




An elephant’s tail can be as long as 1.3 meters and is tipped by very coarse, wire-like hair. They have an extraordinary degree of control over tail movement and use them as fly swatters against insects.

Did you know? Despite being four times thicker than human hair, elephant hair is only half as strong.




Walking away a winner…

Elephants are exceptionally smart creatures. They have the largest brain of any land animal, and three times as many neurons as humans. While many of these neurons exist to control the elephant’s large and dexterous body, these creatures have  constantly demonstrated their impressive mental capabilities. The old adage “An elephant never forgets” has been scientifically proven on many occasions.




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