This is an exciting episode by Coyote Peterson and the Brave Wilderness crew from their visit to Kariega Game Reserve earlier in 2018. The video features a great but intense wildlife experience while tracking the elephant known as the Big Tusker. Please note that getting out of the safari vehicle is not allowed.
You will most probably think that tracking elephants in the African bush should be an easy task because they are so huge. However, in some instances, elephants can be quite tricky to find, especially when they want to play hide and seek! Elephants can also be surprisingly quiet when they want to be. Field guid Jo had to use all of her senses to track the Big Tusker elephant in this video.
How To: Elephant Tracking
- Get to a high point that overlooks the valleys and other landscapes. Use binoculars to help you see if you can spot any elephants.
- While driving, look for (or smell) fresh wet dung or urine puddles on or next to the road. If the dung is still fresh it will have little flies and other insects flying around it.
- Look for large round and oval footprints and freshly broken branches lying in or near to the road. Elephants are very messy eaters and will leave twigs, grass or leaves scattered around where they were feeding.
- Listen very carefully for the sound of breaking branches, trumpeting or low rumbling sounds.
- When it is very hot, very cold or very windy elephants often go into the valleys for protection against the harsh climate.
- Sometimes elephants just don't want to show themselves and will go into areas where there are no roads. You will then just have to wait and try again another time.
How To: Tracking Bull Elephants
Elephant bulls do not usually travel with a herd but are usually found alone or with other bull elephants. Male elephants, including the Big Tusker join the herd occasionally to find out what has been happening. They seem to want to meet the new babies and are always interested in finding out if any of the females are on heat. Sometimes bull elephants can be found following behind the herd.
Bull elephants are often seen play-fighting around the female-led herd. This helps them to build muscle, perfect their fighting techniques, improve their overall strength and show off to the ladies! The play-fighting is training for a real fight later in life when they will try to overpower the Big Tusker for dominance over the herd. The Big Tusker is currently the largest and strongest bull elephant and it will be interesting to see what happens when one of the younger bulls will overpower him. Until then these bulls will continue their play-fighting, which can sometimes more serious than playing.
Brave Wilderness Videos Filmed at Kariega
If you haven't seen any of the other exciting Brave Wilderness videos filmed at Kariega Game Reserve check them out here:
- Ferocious Cat Needs Meat: features Skye the serval showing Coyote who's boss.
- Night of the Hungry Hippos: experience a night drive with infra red camera technology.
- Tiny - African Scops Owl: showing wildlife at Kariega and owls at the Caring Owl sanctuary.
- Search for the LION KING!: the first episode of two to track and dart lion.
- BITE of the KING!: second episode getting up close with lions.
- Guess Poo? ... Who dumped it?!: we are sure you can figure out what this involves!
- Ultimate Safari Adventure: virtual safari with Coyote Peterson at Kariega Game Reserve.
- Trapped in an Elephant Battle!: caught in between two elephant bulls and nowhere to go...
- How to Catch a River Dragon: take a boat cruise on the Bushman's River to try and catch a Nile monitor lizard.
Did you have an amazing Kariega safari experience with elephants? Did you see any play-fighting behaviour by hormonal bulls? Share your experiences, photos and videos via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter and you are also welcome to comment below.