Kicking off with a JUMBO splash! – January 2024

As we advance deeper into the year, the calendar suggests a return of warmer days otherwise known as the Spring season. However, as those of you who have been at AERU before may know, the Garden Route has its own interpretation of seasons. September and October so far have been filled with a great variety of weather conditions, living up to its reputation where you can often experience four seasons in a day!

The following day however was a different story. A consistent cold rain and chilling wind had claimed it. As the gloomy conditions endured into early afternoon, Sally rumbled subtly and the entire herd eagerly followed her lead. They were heading straight towards the dam, and this time it was not just for a drink! The big matriarch took the first plunge, and the herd eagerly joined her past the water’s edge. Excitement took over as the carefree elephants began to frolic in the water, splashing, diving, even going full on submarine with nothing but a trunk snorkel remaining visible from the surface!


Mashudu and Thato proceeded with more caution and remained in the shallow waters, feeding on water plants. In stunning yet expected contrast, Thandi was playfully raging, flinging water and splashing as far as her trunk would allow. After 15 minutes of swimming, the vigour dialled down and the two that were previously tentative, embraced the dam water, running in and playfully sparring together. It was a matter of minutes until jealousy and fear of missing out dawned on Thandi, and she rejoined the water shenanigans to crash the party of two. This was much to the surprise of Mashudu who let out a startled trumpet, finding Thandi right next to him as he raised his head from the water!

After an exhilarating dip, it was time to return to the field, and the guides led the elephants from the dam. The excited giants all came out with their spirits renewed and a childlike naughty attitude, running around playfully.

When the weather is cold, wet and windy, elephants seize the opportunity to enjoy a warm swim. The dam being a large body of water, retains heat from when the sun was shining several hours or even days before, and is therefore much warmer than the external surroundings.

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