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While working at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana on our book, African Icons, we spent some time in the reserve's underground hide, which is conveniently placed at a waterhole that is a popular drinking spot for animals. One afternoon, we were photographing a small herd of eland having a peaceful drink, when suddenly an elephant charged into the scene, trumpeting loudly and scattering the herd in all directions. After he had successfully seen the eland off, he swaggered to the water and had a long drink, the waterhole now all to himself.

It’s always marvellous watching elephants at a waterhole. They arrive silently but soon get noisy as they set about slaking their thirst and cooling off, their delight obvious to see. Then as quickly as they arrive, they disappear. They tend to rather hog the water and other animals, including lions, usually give way if they see them approaching. From our vantage point just a few metres away, we were lucky enough to get an up close and personal glimpse of this proprietorial behaviour, the young bull elephant behaving badly, just because he could! 

Check out some of our elephant photographs.

Photo details: Nikon D800 and 80 - 400 VRII Lens. 1/1600 sec at f5, ISO 200 and -⅔ exposure compensation.


Common eland , also known as the southern eland or eland antelope (Taurotragus oryx) being chased away from a waterhole by an African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana). Mashatu Game Reserve. Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Botswana

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