Bath Time

Taken at The Greater Makalali Provate Game Reserve, South Africa

One of the best birthday presents I’ve ever been given was this sighting. At this stage, I was just a volunteer with Siyafunda Wildlife and Conservation and we had word that there were a few elephant herds nearby to our location so our guide took us to a dam they were headed towards. We all expected them to have a drink and move on but to our surprise they not only got into the water but went swimming!

Elephants are great swimmers and they definately proved this by completely submerging themselves and riding on each others backs whilst frolicing in the water. All of the herds appeared at various times during this sighting, inclduing one with a very young calf. The herd chose to cross at a shallow point in the dam but because this dam also had hippos, the herd had to form a barrier between the hippos and the calf… just in case. When on the bank with a shallower incline, the calf even took a little dip showing his enjoyment by waving his trunk around above his head (apparently this is not forgotten when adults are having fun too if the photo shows anything!)

— Alex Tweedie


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