It was early in the morning when we took off from our airstrip and headed to Ithumba where the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) sits. There were four of us on board all eagerly excited to reach our destination. It was a short flight from Campi ya Kanzi, but I could not contain my excitement inside. The anticipation of seeing baby Elephants was rising within me and the only thing that could help me was to take a nap during the flight, haha! Thankfully, I knock out very easily on planes and so what was just a 20 minute flight, felt like 5 and before I knew it shortly after my eyes closed, we were preparing to land.
In order to be able to visit the DSWT through Campi ya Kanzi, one has to adopt an orphaned Elephant. The DWST has had a successful "Orphan's Project" for years that hand-raises abandoned baby Elephants and reintegrates them back into the wild. We met the head keeper, Benjamin, who was very enthusiastic in providing me with answers to all the questions I had about raising the elephants and his time at the DSWT. It was clear that there is immense passion and care that goes into the work they provide. We were very excited to be able to share this with our guest, Chris (whom was long awaiting to meet his adopted Elephant after spending 7 beautiful days at Campi ya Kanzi!)
It was truly something else to see these massive creatures that are only 4-6 years old coming towards you during feeding time. They all have such individual faces, personalities and characteristics that make them so enjoyable to watch as they splash in the water and play in the red soil.
I was fortunate enough to create a connection with two babies during my visit, Bomani and Vuria, both 4-5 years old. Bomani is very easy-going and curious, he found a lot of fun in playing with my hair as well. I didn't mind the new hair-dos I acquired everytime he was done with me! :) Vuria was more quiet and kind, I instantly fell in love with his demeanor. It's a special and very indescribable feeling when you have the attention of something as majestic as an Elephant, there's a level of trust that I felt from both of them that allowed me to spend time just knelt down in their space and they let me stay there admiring them. Our guest, Chris also felt a connection to an elephant that he then later decided to adopt as well.. So wonderful!
This is an excursion I highly recommend for our guests as it not only is such an educational trip for them but it may just evoke a connection and an even greater respect for these beautiful creatures and the people that take care of them that may not have been there before...
I can't wait to visit again :)
Written: April 12, 2016 by Patricia Cruz