Since building Kinda Camp I have had two visitors; my brother Willy and my friend and colleague Shayna. Their trips overlapped by a few days. On Willy’s last evening we decided to have a “sundowner” (African term for a cocktail while watching the sunset) in the large Fibwe Hide. We were headed to the hide when Willy turned back to camp. He said he would meet us there he wanted to grab his IPod. After 10 minutes of waiting in the hide for Willy we began to call his name. Finally he answered in the direction of Kinda Camp. He yelled that there were elephants. When he was initially coming to the hide he ran into a large elephant at the scout camp. He went back to camp and he and Desmond waited. I told him to have Desmond bring him around the other way. Willy made it up to the hide safely. As we enjoyed our sundowners we also listened to the elephants in the scout camp breaking branches. Kingston, our scout, researcher, and elephant protector was with the baboons at the time. After about 30 minutes we heard yelling and then a very very loud gunshot. Kingston came to the hide to escort us down. He said when he returned to camp an elephant was running straight for the camp attendant David and he fired a shot to scare the elephant away. This was Willy’s first full view of an elephant at Kasanka. Just in time for his departure.

Shayna also had an elephant send off. It started first with our close encounter away from camp. Later that evening after we went to bed Shayna heard noises around her tent. After about 30 minutes she realized it was elephants. They were circling her tent and breaking branches above her. She stayed awake all night in fear. The next morning as we were loading up the vehicle to head to Lusaka Kingston came into camp. He had his gun ready. I looked and an elephant was running just behind Shayna’s tent. It looked like it was headed towards camp but diverted into the mushitu. So Shayna also received a thrilling, terrifying send off from the elephants.

Are they saying goodbye or are they angry that my visitors are leaving. I like to think they are trying to scare them into staying J