A video taken on the 28th of February 2016 of an elephant herd crossing the road during a safari at Pondoro Game Lodge. Mature elephant bulls live a solitary life while cows and their young live in family groups. Cows are the leaders. The matriarch would normally be the oldest cow who would use her years of experience to guide the group safely through life’s many obstacles. Theses small family groups would sometimes join up with other families to form temporary larger herds of up to a 100 elephants. This is called a bond group where the matriarchs are all related. They could be sisters, aunts and cousins etc.
Roads are potentially dangerous and these highly intelligent animals know this. The crossing of a road takes place quickly and orderly. A large cow, usually the matriarch, would lead the way followed by the rest of the herd. An older female would cross at even intervals always positioning herself between the vehicle and the herd. These cows would even approach the vehicle and spread the ears outwards signaling a warning at the safari cruiser to keep its distance. Surely this is coordination that would put a road crossing at a school to shame. I hope that watching a herd of elephants crossing a road will never be the same mundane event after reading this and that you, like I, will from now on always be amazed at the amount of team work, leadership and intelligence shown by our biggest land mammal.
Pondoro Game Lodge is situated inside Balule Private Nature Reserve which is about 50 000ha in size. Our reserve borders and is unfenced to the world famous Kruger National Park. This means that animals can cross freely over a 3 500 000ha open ecosystem which is one of the largest and most treasured in Africa. Elephants need space and plenty of it. Being part of the Greater Kruger National Park has many advantages and one of those is the possibility of sometimes seeing large herds of elephants during our safari drives.