The elephant walked up and studied us.
It all started when we flew to Arusha, Tanzania and rented a long-in-the-tooth Land Rover.
It was $1.30/km with a 100 km. daily minimum rental. But note the two tents on top of the vehicle. For $65/day each we had our lodging and transportation covered.
We immediately headed into the bush.
Ended up hitting six different National Parks in Tanzania - Arusha, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Rubondo Island and Tarangire. 27 days. And, without exception, the local folks were warm and incredibly helpful.
On this day, we had spent a couple of hours lost on faint trails before finally making it to the general area of Lake Ndutu in Serengeti National Park. In these parts, you can easily drive for a full day without seeing another person or vehicle. In the photo above we had stopped for lunch in a place slightly out of the range of the tsetse flies. They had been particularly aggressive on that morning.
Since the sun was rapidly receding, we drove 400 meters off the trail into the bush and set up camp. I quickly put up my tent and placed the rubberized canvas tent cover on the ground. Then I stood on it and showered with about 1.5 liters of water.
Right after toweling off, I noticed the elephant approaching and assumed she would divert around our camp. She didn't. She got close and then stopped and looked at us for the longest time.
Neither of us made any sudden moves or said a word. I found myself filled with a powerful sense of reverence.
And a little fear. If they choose to do so, elephants can kill you. Instead this one slowly started walking in an arc around our campsite. Every 20' or so, she would stop and face us for the longest time.
She completed a semi-circle around us and continued on her way. Upon reflection, I believe she had been attracted to the water that had pooled on the tent cover under my shower.
-Stan Peyton, Live Oak CLE, Inc.