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Zambia

Close encounter of the tusk kind

I was invited out for a meal by my next door neighbours last night. 
I had a beer on the verandah to begin with, watching the sun set over the lagoon, now carpeted by a green algae bloom. V called us in for a starter of butternut squash soup with homemade bread. This was followed by chicken breast stuffed with Italian cheese and prosciutto, Hasselback potatoes with carrots and mushrooms. For dessert, there was a molten chocolate brownie with runny chocolate sauce inside and surrounded by raspberry coulis. I ws stuffed.

It’s not often that I have a banquet like this. We had some entertaining conversation and everyone began to feel tired (even though it was before 9pm). I accepted a gift of leftovers and picked up my super Lenser torch. Outside the front door, a security light came on and the coast looked clear.

Smaller elephants run away when startled by a safari vehicle

It is less than 40 metres to my home. I walked carefully, shining my torch to search for animal eyes in the dark. Just as I left the track, I came face to face with a bull elephant, about ten feet away. My torchlight may have blinded him or shocked him as he was chewing on a bush. I beat a hastier retreat than I should have (the correct procedure is to keep your eyes on the elephant and move backwards slowly). To my shame, I called out, “Alastair, there’s a f~@#ing elephant in my garden!” I need to be more “bush savvy.

We waited a few minutes, tracking his movements with our torches. He could be browsing on bushes for hours. Alastair was upbeat, “At least he’s keeping down the vegetation around the house.” I considered going back inside his house and having a cup of tea, but then we wouldn’t have a clue where he was when I tried to venture home again. Victoria offered to make up a spare bed.

Just then, the big bull moved across the track away from my bungalow. Alastair kept him in view with his torch while I nipped back home through the bushes, giving the elephant a clear berth. Phew.