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Elepant Encounter

" Elephant Encounter"

Watering hole

 

" Overlooking elephant watering hole, Mole National Park, Ghana 2007"

 

February 2007 I visited Mole National Park, Ghana's largest national park covering 4,840 km2. Mole National Park boasts a Guinea Savannah woodlands that is home to 93 species of mammals, 344 species of birds and 33 species of reptiles.

The shining star of Mole National Park are the elephants. The park is located in northern Ghana and offers the amazing opportunity to enjoy all that it has to offer with walking safaris. My time at the park was only for a few days however it left it's beauty etched in my memories.I arrived early morning to Mole National Park to register and book my guide to see the park. I was fortunate enough  to book an early time to enjoy my walking safari. I was told it was best to see wildlife early in the day or late in the afternoon because midday the temperatures become insanely hot and most of Mole's residences  are resting hidden away. Once I was booked, the excitement of seeing elephants up close in the wild was fueled by the fact that while I waited for my guide I could see my first ever wild African elephant off in the distance.

 

 

 
















"My guide ready to escort me to see the elephants of Mole "

 

By ten am the temperature was already in the mid thirties Celsius and climbing, so I made sure that I had enough water for the hike ahead. I also loaded my vest with all the spare camera gear I had to document my first walking safari. Once things were organized we headed out looking for wildlife, the main goal-elephants. As we hiked my guide looked for any signs of elephants that could be near us while explaining the edict of elephant behavior and our interactions with them. While tracking the elephants we came across some of the other animals living in the park.

" Elephant foot print"

 

Just as I was about to comment that maybe the elephants were not to be seen, out of seemingly nowhere two elephants appeared. We were behind the elephants following at a distance for safety reasons.The power that these majestic creatures boasted was impressive even at a safe distance. The excitement of seeing these huge animals on foot truly had my heart pounding. I wanted to get as close as I could for some decent pictures that I could use as reference for my African paintings.

 

"  A view from behind, Mole National Park, Ghana."

We walked with the two elephants until they merged with another and disappeared over a hill. After my morning encounter I went back to the lodge  and had lunch. From where I sat I could look down at a giant watering hole that was filling with a herd of elephants. I asked if there were any guides available that could escort me to the watering hole to watch the elephants cool off in the afternoon heat. As soon as I finished my lunch I met my guide to make my way to the watering hole. On the way there I came across a huge rock python that was shedding while lying low under a tree covered in dried leaves. A troop of baboons studied me closely as I made my way down to the valley below. Once I had arrived at the watering hole to see the bathing elephants I informed my guide I was staying until dark or when the herd of elephants moved on. With the temperature reaching forty degrees C I was jealous of the bathing herd.

"  Cooling down, Mole National Park, Ghana."

More than a hour of my afternoon was filled with joy while watching the elephants frolic in the water. As I watched the last elephant leave the wet playground I sat and was blown away by the opportunity to see a herd of elephants bathing. As soon as the elephant made its way with the herd, crocodiles started to soak up the afternoon sun along the banks of the watering hole. After the excitement of seeing the crocodiles, another first for me, I realized that I stood right on the very same banks to see the elephants bathe. At that moment I remember documentaries I have watched were crocodiles would leap out of the water and take their meal back in he water to eat, maybe at a later date. The thought of a crocodile watching me while I was totally consumed by the elephants sent shivers through out.

" Soaking in the sun, Mole national Park, Ghana. "

Elephant Encounter is the giclee I created to celebrate my time at Mole National Park. I will always remember walking with the elephants.

 

 

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