Graham White & Ema Dean – Volunteer, October 2018
Having loved ellies most of our lives, we decided to look into volunteering with them which would give us a better understanding of these wonderful majestic gentle giants.
We then made a decision to travel all the way here to Knysna Elephant Park from the UK to fulfil our dreams of being in the company of these giant friends. In taking on this project it has opened up our knowledge into the world of ellies. So where do we start?
On day one when we arrived, we had a brief introduction to the staff of the main office, before having a briefing with Christina about the park and where it all began. We then got to have our first meet with the ellies out in the field, this was a magical moment and the way the guides operated and interacted with the ellies was fantastic to witness.
After a good day of induction to most aspects of what was involved in our stay at Knysna, we began our path of working for and alongside the ellies here. Our days were long and busy schedules but this was all worth it for the elephants to have a good life.
We love all of the ellies but for us, Graham loved Mashudu with his perfect handsome looks and the mischievous Thandi with her dramas and big dumbo ears flapping around. For me, everyone loves Sally, but she was the first elephant I have ever had contact with and got to feed fruit to, and of course, she is the boss. Tiny Thato is also my little favourite, she gets away with things because she is so cute.
They all have their unique personalities, but the bond all the guides have with all of them is something we are in awe with. All of the guides here are special people, and they all have great personalities and made us feel right at home here. Their knowledge of ellies and positive outlook on life is fantastic. They all had smiles every morning and throughout the day. They are a credit to the park.
We are now approaching our leaving date and it will be very sad to leave all 10 ellies behind but we have been lucky enough to come and live our dream and explore this amazing country. The people we had the pleasure of meeting will stay with us always. A part of us will remain here, we have made some great memories and all 10 ellies will walk with us in our hearts forever wherever we go.
A huge thank you to everyone, and special thanks to Kathy for saving me from the rain spider.
Love Ema and G.