Well, we certainly have had our share of elephant visitors this weekend! I posted the photo below on Facebook on Saturday with the caption ‘The Marula clean-up crew has arrived’. I was actually joking, not knowing that they would – in fact- do just that!
On Saturday, I had to go pick up Steven from the bus. He had been in Pretoria for his B-Tech contact week. And since I left in a bit of a hurry, I forgot to close the gate behind me. Now the two Marula trees in our garden are producing so much fruit, I just cannot keep up with the jelly making. So there are piles of fruit lying around. Too much fruit for an ellie to resist!
So no surprise: when Steven and I got back, there were two elephants at the front gate and one inside! I really could not blame them. “Eat the delicious fruit guys, I don’t mind. Just leave my veggies please!” I said through the open window. My pepper plants are just starting to grow tiny little green peppers, and I would really like to harvest them!
With us driving into the yard and all four kids happy to see their father, the commotion was a bit too much for the young ellie bull, so after another trunk-full of the juicy fruit, and a bit of encouragement from Steven, he left our yard. Steven closed the gate behind him so the kids could come outside and play.
We were planning a lekker braai that evening and Steven’s oldest son, Aiden, wanted to help start the fire. He went outside to take the braai tongs and blitz to the lapa. In a split second, he was back inside! He looked like he had seen water burning and struggled to get the words out. “There are elephants!!!” He yelled as he pointed to our braai area. I thought he meant at the fence, but when we looked out the window, they were not at the fence at all; they were inside the yard at our braai! Poor Aiden almost bumped into them and got such a fright he fell on his bum.
There were three elephants munching away on the tall grass at the back of the house. Our own personal Kruger Garden services: The Marula Clean-up Crew! Hahaha, I just had to laugh. With all the Marula fruit in the garden, this was bound to happen. Or, maybe they just wanted to join in the fun of a good old Kruger braai. Who knows;-)
Quietly, I crept onto our little stoep at the back for a video. Steven closed the gauze door behind me to keep our curious kids inside. “Olifant aaien?” Alex asked me. Which is Dutch for “Can I go pet the elephant?” “Better not my lovie, elephants don’t really like to be petted.” I whispered back from my relative safe spot at the door. After a bit of a head-shake and display for my attention, the three elephant strong clean-up crew left the way they came: through the mangled gate by the lapa.
The next morning, I slept in a bit while Steven took the ‘early shift’ with the kids. I was slowly waking up when I heard an elephant scream close by. Well, I shot out of bed like a ‘Jack-in-the-box’ and opened our curtains. Three more elephants in the yard! This time it was a cow with a young calf and a youngish bull. The morning shift of the Marula Clean-up crew had arrived.
I grabbed my camera and quickly made my way into the lounge, where the kids were having breakfast. “Tannie Linda, look at the elephants!” Aiden said quite matter-of-factly as he took a bite of cereal. I suppose the kids got used to having elephants in the yard. Where they were at the window with their faces pressed up at the glass the previous afternoon, this morning they were quite happy to stay at the dining room table and eat their breakfast, while the elephants were enjoying theirs.
Isn’t it amazing to think that this is their ‘normal.’ They don’t know anything else but this: the Kruger National Park is their backyard and elephants come and play. Monkeys are naughty and we are not allowed to touch the tortoises and snakes. I love it!
Anyway, I went to our front door for some photos. The cow was hoovering up the marula fruit with her trunk faster than you can say hoovering. Her baby was also enjoying the Marula feast and was shoving the ripe fruits into her little mouth. Mum was in such a hurry to eat all of the Marulas, she almost tripped over the kid’s scooters that were strewn about under the tree.
Both bigger ellies picked up my movement and gave me a bit of a display. Nothing to get your adrenaline going early morning than an elephant that takes a few quick steps towards you, ears flared out and all!
The three ellies retreated the way they came in… through the half broken gate at our lapa. Leaving some party gifts in their wake. The grass in the garden next door is also very overgrown and in need of some mowing, which looked like their next job.
Thanks, Kruger Garden Services, for sending your Marula Clean-up crew. It was truly an entertaining adventure this weekend!
This is not the first time we have had elephants in the Yard. I have written a few other blog posts about our pachyderm neighbors in ‘There is an Elephant on the Driveway‘, ‘A Naughty Overnight visitor‘ and ‘There is an Elephant at my Window‘.