Unfortunately we had to change plans for the next day. We were to head south again into the salt pans again but a combination of factors prevented this. Mike and Linda had oil-seal problems and headed to Maun to get it fixed but the group was to carry on with our guide Dave. So, also leaving Chris until we see him again when we re-enter Botswana, we were to head straight for the town of Nata to refuel and buy a few supplies. On the way we detoured to the Baines' Baobabs, an isolated patched of these enormous and ancient trees. After Nata, we drove north again in a hurry to get to the Elephant Sands Lodge and campsite before dark, a feat we just managed. With the tents and gear set up, we all decided to have a drink in the bar and enjoy the buffet meal in the lodge.
Right next to the main lodge is a small pan which is now supplied with fresh water. When we arrived a couple of elephants were drinking there. Over dinner, more and more family groups came down, one after the other. Elephant groups are run by a matriarch and mature males are excluded. At one point, the matriarch of one group had a tussle with a larger male that had intruded. With much trumpeting and a clash of tusks the big male backed off. Later a jackal wandered past the waterhole. Suddenly an elephant took exception to this, trumpets and took of a t speed chasing the jackal some distance. Never a dull moment and all happening just a few metres away from us.
Still at Elephant Sands…
We spent the day catching up on diary writing, photo sorting, a little clothes washing and lots of elephant watching as the groups came and went just about all day. Large groups of females and young were hassled from time to time by some very big bull elephants but were roundly chased away by the matriarch.
In the afternoon we went on a safari truck along a road called Hunters' Road, an indication of its past history. This took us close to the Zimbabwe border and gave us a first sighting for the trip of buffalo. We had sundowners next to a dry pan and returned to camp in the dark and the cold.