Roar Africa

Exploring Africa Since 1688

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Elephants in your Lobby, Mfuwe Lodge, Zambia

Ten years ago when elephant matriarch Wonky Tusk and her family returned to a favourite mango tree while on migration they discovered that a lodge had unwittingly been built next to it. Sensing no danger from the Mfuwe Lodge staff and visitors they decided not to let minor details get in the way of their breakfast. From that day forward they have returned unhindered every November, sometimes multiple times per day, wandering through the lobby and grounds to the delight of staff and guests alike.

What is amazing about this is that they are completely wild elephants. They are living in the 5,000 square mile South Luangwa National Park in Zambia and yet in this unusual circumstance they are comfortable in close proximity to humans. Andy Hogg, director at The Bushcamp Company that runs the Lodge, has lived in South Luangwa National Pazrk for 26 years has never seen another occurrence of wild elephants freely getting so close to humans.

'The elephants do get reasonably close to the staff as you can see with the pictures of the elephants near the reception,' he explains. 'But we do not allow the guests to get too close. Guests can stand in the lounge area but as long as there is a barrier between the elephants and the guests that is okay,' he added.

If you visit in November you might be fortunate to witness Wonky Tusk and family from a safe distance.

Mfuwe Lodge is hidden amongst huge ebony and fig trees on the banks of a beautiful lagoon on the Luangwa River. The Bushcamp Company operates a six other camps and caters especially to those looking for the classic adventure of a walking safari. You don't have to do a walking safari. You might choose to relax at one or other camp and go on game drives. However you can in fact move between camps on guided walking safaris. Don't worry you wont have to carry your suitcase.

Video footage of the Mfuwe elephants:

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