THE ELEPHANT’S TRAIL BY TESKE
Lango’s ‘Adventure Trail’ is one of my favourite walks, as it one of our best activities that encapsulates the diversity of Odzala in just 5km. It passes through different types of vegetation, the habitats of different animals, mud and water. It gets its name in part from the possibility of encountering Odzala’s most amazing wildlife (the elephant and buffalo which made the original trails) during the three or four hours it takes to complete.
On this particular occasion, the overnight rumblings of elephant boded well for an Mboko “staff walk” along the Adventure Trail. Inviting our chef, Saju, along meant that we had fresh coffee and delicious snacks for our walk. We dipped our feet in the bai by way of introduction, before passing through patches of marsh forest, dry forest and savannah. Our eyes were caught alternately by towering trees, curiously colourful insects and other organisms.
Cautiously following an elephant boulevard, we were coming towards the end of the Adventure Trail. Waist-deep in water (not at all unwelcome as the day warmed up), I heard sounds that suggested we weren’t the only waders in the vicinity. Saju and Michael (the manager of Mboko) stepped to one side and I advanced a few metres – and there he was: a forest elephant, right in the middle of one of the two stretches of water in this section of swamp forest.
At first the elephant did not know that we were also in the water. And then his trunk slowly snaked up into the air, seeking our scent. Everyone – including time – stood still… The elephant realised that his best exit was going back the way he came. As he retreated, we remained stationary, to create more space between us and him. We then slowly followed at a distance as he made his way back into the forest. In the process, we joined the lucky few who can say that they have walked in the fresh footsteps of a forest elephant. You too could be counted among the elite group of adventure travelers who enjoy this extraordinary experience at the Odzala Discovery Camps.