The ultimate safari experience is often imagined in an open roof, four-wheel drive, journeying across Africa’s golden, sunlit plains, endeavoring to encounter all of the natural wonders she has to offer.
This is indeed the sensational reality for those who travel to Kenya’s Masai Mara, however at Governors Camp, it is not only the marvels of game drives that leave guests in awe but also the phenomena that occur right in the comforts of camp. For example, just the other day, a baby elephant was born right next to the tents at Governors’ Camp!
Abigail Leslie from Governors’ Camp shares a little more about this spectacularly exciting sighting:
“Monday 12th February 2018, 3:45 am, the distinct sound of elephant rumbles and grumbles began to make their way towards the far west-side of Governors’ Camp. We refer to this side as the ‘plains side,’ with all tents 29-37 facing out towards the plains of the Masai Mara. The sound of large nightlife wanderers is not uncommon to the good folk of Governors’ Camp. Being located amongst four distinct ecosystems; Plains, River, Marshland, and Forest, there is a continuous array of wildlife that venture through camp every single night.
As the elephant harmony drew nearer, it soon became blatant that this was no ordinary feeding session. Within one hour our Governors’ Camp rondavels were surrounded by a herd of fourteen elephants, creating quite the rumpus. Having woken to the noise surrounding his rondavel, Governors’ Camp Manager, Harrison Nampaso, quietly crept outside to assess the commotion. To describe the timing as perfect would be an understatement, as at the exact moment Harrison cast his eyes on our rowdy neighbours, something magical began to take place.
The previously muffled grumbles were now clearly determined as warning signals made by the majority of the herd, who by now all stood in a near to flawless circle surrounding one female elephant in particular. Unbeknown to Harrison, this female was soon to be a mother. The protective barrier the herd had created for the female is a wonderful reminder of the emotional intelligence the elephant species possess, as each herd member made it their utmost priority to shield the female during this vital moment. As the circle began to break and the herd slowly dispersed, the female moved around frantically giving out a few bellows, then within moments, a tiny, four-legged animal dropped out of her onto the dry February earth. The now mother elephant, began to clean and nurture her beautifully ruddy but extremely wobbly new-born calf, while the rest of the herd gathered again. It was as though thirteen midwives were competing to assure the stable condition of the new-born, touching their trunks against the mother and baby to encourage feeding.
As the first flush of morning appeared, tent zips drew up and those guests residing in our plains tents were fortunate enough to be one of the first to witness the hour old calf; who by now was half hidden underneath its mother, suckling. This moment was a prime example of nature’s mercurial temperament and heading out on that early morning game drive a few minutes later than usual was well worth the delay.
Sunday, 25th February 2018, 8:30 am, our guests were enjoying those first satisfying sips of tea and coffee on return from their morning safari, when our attentive askaris vigilantly began ushering people away from the breakfast tables and into the dining tent. With no time to waste, the trumpeting had commenced, as though to announce their arrival, and soon, in perfect alignment, all fifteen elephants were patrolling through camp in typical herd style. Two barefaced teen bulls marched ahead playfully, followed steadily by older members and their calves, and of course our newly made mother and her two-week-old calf pacing gently in the middle.
One after the other, a real performance began; tiptoeing over railings, swaying in between tables, brushing against the breakfast buffet, without knocking over a single pepper pot. The herd munched their way past, in that elegant elephant manner, straight through to reception. Still, politely sticking to the Governor’s path (except for the brazen teen bulls), the herd headed towards the east side of camp, to continue their morning patrol past our riverside tents and back out into the bush.
The herd had been visiting the camp on a daily basis three to four weeks prior to the birth of their newest member, and have maintained the routine ever since. Grazing and browsing across the plains and marshland during the day, before customarily returning to the safety of Governors’ Camp in the evenings. The invulnerability and safety evidently experienced by the herd, when within the Governors’ Camp vicinity, is extremely special. To then have this feeling of security result in a birthright on our doorstep, is a sublime gift we will forever cherish. To the elephants of Governors’ Camp, thank you for choosing us!”