Elephants: The Ultimate Matriarchy. Tau Game Lodge, Madikwe.

Within the depths of an elephant's eye resides the wisdom of countless generations. Each wrinkle and crease tells a story, etched by the trials and triumphs of their ancestors. A silent testament to survival, passed down through the ages, teaching them to navigate life's labyrinthine trails. Weathered and wizened, it carries the legacy of their lineage, a living library of nature's secrets, reminding us that wisdom is not just found in books but in the soulful gaze of those who have roamed this Earth since time immemorial.




With whispers of untamed hope, an African sunrise paints the sky in shades of gold, heralding a new day. A fresh canvas on which dreams can be etched.

Each ray feeds my spirit and invites me to participate in this dance of untamed rhythms of nature, a reminder that as the darkness fades, the light immediately starts to take its place.

In the silent serenity of morning, Africa awakens, promising endless possibilities, untamed adventures, and a chance to start anew.

Embrace the dawn, for in its tender glow lies endless possibilities for those willing to accept the experiences that a new day offers.




Sitting on the deck of my suite at Tau Game Lodge in Madikwe watching herd after herd of elephants come to drink at the large waterhole at the lodge, I got to see and experience the interactions of the herds and how they behaved. Not only towards those within their own herd, but the interactions between the different herds that occured on a daily basis when they shared the water.

Interestingly enough the lodge is named after the venacular name for a lion, Tau, whereas is should be named Tlou, elephant, as we saw more of the latter and none of the former at the waterhole.

But to be fair, I did hear lions vocalizing almost every night during our stay.

Welcome to the wild world of elephants, where social interactions are more dramatic than a soap opera and the mother-child relationship is like no other. In this whimsical journey, I will delve into the fascinating dynamics of these pachyderm breeding herds, where the matriarchs reign supreme, and the calves are the mischievous troublemakers we all secretly adore.

On the open plains in front of Tau Game Lodge, a herd of elephants lumbers along, intent on getting to the water to drink and frolic. The undisputed leader is the matriarch, historically the oldest and wisest female in the herd. They normally have the wisdom of Yoda, the tenacity of a honey badger, and the combined memories of a thousand elephants from generations that preceded her.




Elephants and the social interactions within breeding herds are a captivating blend of drama, humor, and heartwarming moments. The female-calf relationship, with its mix of discipline and playfulness, is a testament to the unique bonds that exist in the animal kingdom.

So, the next time you find yourself watching a nature documentary about elephants, remember that behind those majestic tusks and massive bodies, there’s a whole world of love, laughter, and occasional elephant-sized tantrums.




Now, let’s zoom in on the main event, the heartwarming and occasionally heart-stopping relationship between elephant mothers and their adorable calves. You see, in the elephant world, it’s all about family, and that means sticking together through thick and thin. But don’t be fooled by their massive size; these gentle giants are, in fact, the helicopter parents of the animal kingdom.

Imagine this scenario: a curious calf decides to venture a bit too far from the safety of the herd to investigate a butterfly or a twig, and chaos ensues. The mothers trumpet, the aunts rush in like the cavalry, and the matriarch sends a stern warning with a “Don’t you dare do that again” look that could stop a charging rhino in its tracks. The calf quickly learns the importance of staying close to mom.

But it’s not all seriousness in the world of elephant parenting. These massive moms have a soft spot for their little ones and can be incredibly playful. Imagine a 4500kg mother engaging in a game of “catch me if you can” with her 100kg calf. It’s like watching a bulldozer play tag with a feather!




They play with such enthusiasm and gentleness, like a soccer mom cheering for her kid at a game. The mothers will even toss dust and dirt over their calves as a form of sunscreen and insect repellent.

One of the most heartwarming sights in the elephant world is witnessing a calf trying to mimic the majestic trumpet of its mother. It’s like a baby trying to imitate the grand opera singing of an experienced soprano. They’ll raise their tiny trunks and emit a squeaky sound that resembles a trumpet played by someone who just learned to blow into one.




And speaking of family, the elders in the herd, like the grandmothers and great-aunts, play a vital role in passing down wisdom and traditions to the younger generation. They’re like the wise old sages of the savannah, sharing their knowledge of where to find the juiciest leaves and the best watering holes.




But just like any good sitcom, the elephant mother-calf relationship has its moments of tension. As the calves grow and gain more independence, they become a bit rebellious.They test boundaries, play tricks on their moms, and sometimes, they throw a good old-fashioned elephant tantrum. Picture a baby elephant flopping down in the dirt and refusing to move. It’s like the elephant version of a toddler’s “I don’t wanna!”




Of course, elephant mothers have their own special brand of discipline. They employ a combination of stern looks, gentle nudges, and a touch of tough love to keep their rambunctious youngsters in line. And when all else fails, there’s always the threat of a “time-out” under the watchful eye of the matriarch. It’s a lesson in obedience that the calves never forget.




True love?




Some cultural facts about the largest land mammal on our planet…

Elephants have had a significant impact on many cultures throughout history. In Hinduism, the elephant-headed deity Ganesha is worshipped as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. In Buddhism, the white elephant is considered a symbol of purity and compassion.

In African folklore, elephants are often portrayed as wise and powerful creatures, while in India, elephants are seen as symbols of good luck and prosperity.

Are you aware? Elephants are considered a keystone species, meaning they play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of their habitats.




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