Red Cliffs, Elephant Charges and The Horny Zebra Theory

The first thing I heard from one of the camera crew  this week was: ‘Make sure you don’t get attacked by a horny zebra.

…………….uummmmmm okaaay……………..

Took me a moment to realise why:

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Not the smartest of fashion choices on my part, but thankfully we didn’t come across any er…. ‘interested’ zebra that day. Instead, we filmed at the famous Chilojo cliffs, which provide the national park with the stunning red cliff backdrop it’s known for. It was a cloudy day, but it made the scene more dramatic.

Absolutely loved filming at the various viewpoints here and then we also saw the cliffs from ground level, and surprisingly that was even more of a ‘wow’ moment as you get to see the whole perspective and grandeur of the scenery:

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Even here, I still didn’t get attacked by a zebra (to the great dismay of our camera guy) but we DID get charged at by an elephant. They’re known to be quite aggressive in the area due to a sad persecution and poaching history, so I was half expecting it…. I just wasn’t expecting it to happen so close to the car (and on MY SIDE, right by my car door …as usual …fml).

We drove a little too close to Big Momma and her herd containing babies, so they all huddled up to protect one another, like so:

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And then to show us who was boss, the matriarch charged, trumpeted, kicked up dust and basically told us to p*ss off, in a very unsettling way. *gulp*

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On a positive note, what came next was one of my favourite elephant experiences to date. We stopped for lunch close to the water and here I am talking about how there’s already an elephant behind us ‘so let’s see what else comes our way’ type thing:

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LITERALLY 3 minutes later , a whole HERD starts splashing in the water behind us and then…. THEY MAKE THEIR WAY ACROSS THE WATER TO WHERE WE’RE SITTING!!

As they got closer and closer, we watched from the car and the matriarch stopped to sniff us for a while, but decided we weren’t a threat, so proceeded to lead the herd to the next feeding spot.

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The whole water area soon filled up with my favourite noise: the sound of elephants bathing, splashing, playing and rolling in the mud. It’s such a magical experience to be there while it all unfolds. No matter how many times we’re lucky enough to film it, it always counts as an unforgettable moment for me:

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But if you think THAT’S a big herd, check out these buffalo. Those little brown spots in the field? That’s a herd of 600 buffalo!! SIX HUNDRED! How crazy is that??

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We had to creep up and stay low in order to get close and did a pretty good job because the guide and I went unnoticed and unheard for a good 15 mins or so:

What followed the buffalo sighting was a drive THROUGH the Save river to reach a jaw dropping sunset at the lodge. And when I say through the river, I mean:

And when I say jaw dropping sunset, I mean:

The other sunset (yes yes I’m obsessed with sunsets #whatelseisnew) was this super hazy one that we saw on the first day. Whilst I’m feeling like Queen of the World on this picture, all the animals in the background are probs thinking ‘whattheactualtruck‘ :

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To their relief, I was soon told to step off my little pretend throne as the crew had actual work to do (pppfffft) and filmed this glorious end to the day:

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On our last afternoon at the location, the guide asked if we wanted to stop at the local waterfalls – a bit of an attraction with some tourists, apparently. We said sure and didn’t think much of it. In all honesty, I was expecting some cute little waterfall where you take one picture and move along. OH DEAR LAAWWWWWWD was I wrong! This was one of the highlights of my week and needless to say- completely took my breath away. I can’t even. I just can’t. Why this isn’t a global attraction like Victoria Falls is beyond me. I mean, have you SEEN THIS???! :

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Next Time: Camping in the wild whilst filming some unpredictable action at the only water source in the area, hopefully more leopard sightings and close encounters with Africa’s most unique animals!


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