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Mid Kent College Animal Care Course – South Africa 2013 – Day 9

Day 11

We woke up early to have breakfast at 7.30am as we were leaving at 8.30am for the elephant interaction it took us an hour to get there which wasn’t that bad.

Whilst driving to the elephant interaction we passed a game reserve where along the fence line we saw a leopard shading itself under a tree, it was amazing but unfortunate for Eliz who didn’t see it and hasn’t seen one in the past 3 years.

When we arrived at the elephant interaction we took a seat in front of a low fenced pen. as we did, the elephants appeared from the bushes and made their way into the pens Rambo the big male elephant in one and Rachel and baby Jabulani In the other pen.

Once the elephants had arrived the ranger started talking about their history and how the elephants love human attention and without it they cause mischief within the game reserve. The 3 elephants are followed by 2 keepers from 6 am – 6pm and after 6pm the elephants walk into a boma until the keepers come to collect them.

After the keeper had finished talking we got to go up to Rambo and feed him by putting pellets on his trunk and straight on his soft but slimey tongue aswell! We got to feel his trunk and behind his ears, although Rambo is an African elephant he feeds like an Asian elephant as he had one of the prehensile fingers removed as it became infected and had gangrene.

After we had finished interacting with Rambo we made our way over to feed Rachel the female elephant who was with her 3 year old baby Jabulani. We were able to feed Rachel like a normal African elephant as she has all her prehensile fingers with which she was taking the food from my hand as well as grabbing my hand.

When we had finished the interaction we went for lunch at Ilala weavers in Hluhluwe were we got the chance to buy gifts for our relatives as well as ourselves, I had a cheese,onion and chutney toastie with a banana milkshake which was delicious.

Soon after we finished our lunch we were off out again to a Zulu village called Nompondo where we visited the local shop as well as a local family homestead.

Here we learnt about their culture, special rituals and the huts they have in their homestead which is really cool.

Before we left the village we made a donation towards educational supplies for the school.

After we had said our goodbyes we set off back to Umkhumbi Lodge where we ate our lovely barbel fish and chips for dinner, and chocolate cake for pudding.

- jade

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