Water for elephants
On Saturday evening, shortly before sunset, we took a boat ride down the Rufiji river and came across five elephants playing in the water. Two of the elephants were rolling around on their backs, and three others were splashing themselves. They froze when they smelled us, but resumed their games when we moved downwind.
After bathing, the elephants decided to cross the river. They formed a cautious procession, each one surveying a different direction, trunks held up to sniff the air for potential predators. Clumped together, they shuffled awkwardly and slowly across the river, pausing frequently to reassess whether it was safe to continue. All went smoothly until the elephant leader, who had almost reached the river bank, stepped on a hippo who shot up out of the water.
The elephants roared in surprise and tripped over themselves in their haste to flee to the forest. Several crocodiles, who had been sleeping lazily in the sun of the river bank, jumped quickly into the water. The hippo retreated to the depths of the river and then, only after the elephants had long disappeared, rose back out of the water to bark in indignation.