Incredible number of elephants visit waterhole together
Hwange National Park, situated in the northwest of Zimbabwe, is the county’s largest park and one of the top national parks in Africa. The vast wilderness areas of Hwange host the Big five and a multitude of animal species. The park is rated as one of the national parks with the biggest diversity of mammal species in the world. Hwange is even more world renowned among safari goers for its elephant population. The park is one of the world’s last elephant sanctuaries and home to some fifty thousand elephants, perhaps Africa's single largest concentration of elephant. With all these elephants around, there is naturally a heavy demand for water.
Elephants are large and very thirsty creatures and need to drink daily. Water remains the single most important management factor in Hwange's continued existence. Having water is absolutely vital to the survival of all elephants in the park. The constant maintenance of the artificial but natural looking water pans, complete with resident hippo's and crocodile, has been a major factor sustaining this ecological treasury. Without these waterholes, Hwange National Park would return to the empty wasteland it once was while animals would die in their thousands. Game viewing in Hwange is superb during the dry period of the year. The park has no permanent natural water sources, so once the rains have stopped and the landscape starts to dry out, animals such as the elephants have to rely on the man made pumped waterholes for water. Animal sightings of African wild dog, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe and zebra are many of the highlights, but by far the mammals that Hwange is most famous for are its elephants. We visited Hwange National Park during the late dry season. We decided to spend one whole afternoon at one of the man made waterholes in the park. We sat in a shaded structure called a hide, overlooking a waterhole with a great vista of the surroundings. We could not have imagined what we were about to see over the next five hours. On our arrival at the waterhole, there were many elephants already at the water. For the whole five hours that we were there, herds and herds of elephants were coming and going from all directions.
The movement of elephants in front of us was nonstop and absolutely mind blowing. With all the elephants gathering, we could clearly hear the many noises made by them, ranging from rumbling, screaming and trumpeting sounds, echoing across the open savanna. The nonstop variety of many strange noises added immensely to the whole experience. Never in my life have I seen so many elephants in one place and there are very few places in the world where you would be lucky enough to see something like this. I started filming right through the whole afternoon. The video shows a collection of some of the many elephant moments around the waterhole during that one afternoon. We counted an estimated six hundred and fifty elephants that visited the waterhole during our five-hour stay that afternoon. At the end of the afternoon there was a dramatic sunset and the elephants kept coming and going. After sunset we had to leave but the elephants just kept coming and coming. This was by far one of my greatest experiences while on safari in a very long time. I could gladly leave and say that we have witnessed a great natural spectacle, not really to be found anywhere else in the world.