Moments With The Elephants Of East Africa

A Page From My Notebook: Bringing The Thunder.
As storm clouds roll in so does this elephant family. They are letting me know exactly who is in charge.

I am probably best known for photographing elephants. I have photographed them in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa.  In each country the elephants are different. The environment they live in is drastically diverse in each country on the continent of Africa. In Kenya, there is the open land of Amboseli National Park. Here the herds are vast.

On safari, I keep a journal, a sort of photographic notebook. These are all personal memories for me. In each photograph, I wanted to capture the moment as I remember it, as I saw it, and more importantly as I felt it.

egret on an elephant

A Page From My Notebook: The Company Of Elephants.

A small cattle egret, taking a rest or catching a ride, I am not sure which.

group of elephants

A Page From My Notebook: Mutual Respect

I accidently found myself in the middle of a small group of elephants walking to catch up with the herd that was on the opposite side of where I was sitting.

Elephant Social Structure 

The herds are made up of the matriarch elephants, her daughters and their offspring. The leader of the herd is the matriarch elephant. 

The number of elephants in these herds depends on the different types of elephants. For comparison, the herd of African Savannah elephants is typically made up of 20 to 70 elephants. On the other hand, African forest elephants and Asia elephants live in smaller herds. 

Matriarch elephant

The leader of an elephant herd is referred to as the matriarch elephant. She is usually the oldest and largest female elephant of the herd. The matriarch elephant is the one who leads all the other female elephants in the herd. 

elephant's eye

Since she is the oldest elephant in the herd, she has the most experience when dealing with crises. The matriarch elephant knows the best way to avoid dangers. Her wisdom, collected over her many years, helps her to guide the herd towards food and water. 

Referred to as cows, females generally stay in their mother’s herd throughout their life. When a female reaches her teenage years, the elders, mother and aunts will all teach and prepare them for motherhood ready for when they themselves become a mother. 

Male elephants, or bulls 

Male elephants, referred to as bulls, live their early years in their mother’s herd. Bull elephants will live in the same herd until the age of 12 to 15 years. Where do the male elephants go when they become a teenager?

These young bull elephants go to live in smaller groups of other male elephants. In these small groups, the male elephants learn better ways to interact with other male elephants, meeting older bull elephants on their travels and learn mating etiquettes. 

The male elephants travel from one mate to another, therefore keeping gene pool varied, which is vital for good healthy herds. 

Baby elephants 

Baby elephants, referred to as calves live with their mother in herds and depend heavily on their mothers. When elephants are born, they have very few survival skills and are actually blind. 

The calves rely on their mothers for nourishment, hygiene and survival. In general, elephants do not have predators, although lions, tigers and hyenas may attack a new-born elephant, this is their most vulnerable time in their life, they need the extra protection and support of the whole herd. If an elephant loses its mother, it runs a big risk of not surviving. 

wild kenya elephant

 Page From My Notebook: Wild Kenya

With a quick sharp turn, and a head thrown confidently to the side, I am told exactly the way it is.  Africa does not belong to me.

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12 Comments

  1. Avatar of Katie @ Nonbillable Hours Katie @ Nonbillable Hours says:

    These photos are amazing.

  2. Not only beautiful photos, also I think that is a great post. Well write with true passion about this wonderful animals.

  3. Avatar of Robert @ Amboseli Elephant safari Robert @ Amboseli Elephant safari says:

    You never get enough watching these gentle giants in amboseli national park. Amazing animals and there are more than 1500 elephants in amboseli which have been studied for more than 30 years by Cynthia Moss team…They say they can now identify each of them by name.

  4. Avatar of Rifal Krakatoa Rifal Krakatoa says:

    waw amazing,I’ve never seen before.

  5. WoW what an incredible experience and those photos are absolutely beautiful.

  6. Avatar of Beth @ Tropic Holidays Beth @ Tropic Holidays says:

    Wow! Incredible photos – the sepia effect makes them really atmospheric. Love the close up of the elephant (last photo), they are such beautiful, wise animals.

  7. Avatar of Alex Gibson Alex Gibson says:

    A flying safari over Amboseli National parke gave me a wonderful view of elephants in the swamps that I can’t get enough of. Though so big, there beauty never ceases to amaze me, thanks for the wonderful pictures 🙂

  8. Avatar of Arjun singh Arjun singh says:

    oooowwwwwww it’s reallllyyy nice i like your picccccccccccc.

  9. you have made be an instant fan….love your photography

  10. Avatar of girlshowtoimpress.com girlshowtoimpress.com says:

    what incredible and beautiful photos! unfortunately there not so many pictures like these left…hope they weren’t disturb by any human

  11. Wow. Just wow. Thanks for posting these. Looking at them is liking being taken to a whole other world.

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