At Voi we felt blessed as the rains broke early this year. Before that, the dry season seemed to have accelerated and everything felt like it was drying out that much faster, perhaps as we did not receive as much rain as we would have liked during the April and May rains, so when the short rains broke this October the land and all life seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. The orphans relished drinking from the puddles that collected on rocks and depressions, and their all-time favourite game became sliding down the trenches on the side of Msinga Hill, formed as rain cascades down the side eroding little dugouts.
The stockade dependent elephants came out of the stockades for their morning milk feed. Emoli and Tahri seemed to be in a tussle over who would grab the first milk bottle but this didn’t last for long. After the milk and pellet feeding the orphans enjoyed playing on the dust piles amidst light rain. Kenia and Ndii stood guard over Tahri and Araba as they dust bathed to ensure that none of the others bothered them. When they were done Godoma, Suswa, and Lentili came and lay on the red earth pile while Kenia stood watching them.
The orphans seem to enjoy the rain this morning with Sagala, Ndotto, Lasayen, Ndii, Ngilai and Godoma enjoying an early morning mud bath at the stockade water hole. Mashariki and Ndoria each enjoyed a scratching session on separate rocks with Mudanda doing the same a few minutes before the group walked out to browse.
The day was spent browsing on the northern side of the stockade where the orphans enjoyed feeding on the moist grass.
After the morning milk and supplement feeding, Ngilai and Murit enjoyed playing with one another while Arruba wallowed in the stockade water hole, but soon came out as she found the water too cold. Nelion wanted to have a dust bath but found the red earth was wet and clumpy from the rain so it was unsuitable for dust bathing. Emoli spent the morning close to Ndoria, which surprised the rest of the orphan herd as Ndoria is a known tail biter and most of the orphans tend to keep their distance from her.
Mbegu and Godoma led the group to the browsing grounds with Ishaq-B stopping to lie in a sandy trench which was nice and warm. When she was done she rejoined her friends who were browsing as they walked. At noon the orphans visited the baobab tree waterhole where they had their milk bottles but didn’t wallow. The afternoon was spent browsing close to the water hole before returning home for the night.
Tahri and Godoma came sprinting out of their stockades this morning so as to be the first to get to the milk bottles. At the Lucerne pellet feeding area Tahri tried to block Emoli from accessing the pellets but was unsuccessful as Emoli walked around her and fed on the pellets anyway. Nguvu made it his mission to chase the baboons away from the feeding area today so that the orphans could enjoy their supplements in peace.
The Voi orphans left for browsing, settling to feed on the southern side of Msinga Hill. They returned to the stockades later at noon to interact with the visiting school children. After the noon milk feed Murit enjoyed bathing in the stockade waterhole until Ndotto came and ousted him. Sagala was having fun climbing one of the stockade terraces while Tahri enjoyed scratching her bottom against a rock. Ndoria had the dust piles all to herself as none of the others wanted to join her due to her tail biting tendencies. The afternoon browsing session took place on the western side of Msinga Hill.
The orphan elephants had their morning milk and Lucerne pellet feeding as usual before engaging in games around the stockade compound. This morning Mbirikani came to the stockades to join them, following a five day absence, and was quickly welcomed by Ndoria who returned and stayed at the stockades a few weeks ago to receive care and attention from the Keepers during the dry season. The two seemed to be deep in conversation as they stood with their trunks entwined. Kenia later approached the two and broke them up by getting between them, making it clear that she wanted to be included in what they were discussing seeing as she is the mini-matriarch of the stockade dependent group.
The orphans didn’t visit the baobab tree water hole today as there were many water pans around for them to drink from and play in following the recent rains. They spent the day browsing on the far northern side of the stockade. At about 6:15pm a wild herd came for a drink at the stockade water trough and Mbegu, Emoli and Pika Pika all rumbled a greeting to them welcoming them to the stockade compound.
The morning milk feed took place at 6.30am with Emoli being the first to arrive. He downed his milk and then headed straight to the pellet feeding area. Godoma and Tahri followed Emoli and once done Godoma waited around to see if she could somehow manage to get a second bottle but of course she was unsuccessful and instead joined her friends for some Lucerne pellets.
The orphans left the stockade compound under the careful stewardship of Lentili and Embu. They settled to browse on the eastern foot of Msinga Hill where Lentili and Mashariki led some of them half way up the Hill, while Mbegu remained at the bottom with Ngilai, Godoma, Murit, Ndotto, Lasayen, Sagala and Emoli.
The orphans visited the baobab tree water hole and left as soon as they had finished their milk and had a drink of water. Tawi the male orphan eland, who remained at the stockade during the dry season, left the stockade compound today and did not return as there is now enough water and vegetation for him in the Park.
The morning began as usual with the milk dependent orphan elephants downing their milk bottle in a matter of seconds before settling for the Lucerne grass pellet feeding. They played briefly on the red earth piles before following Mbegu and Ndotto to the browsing grounds where they split up into groups to enjoy feeding on the soft green vegetation around them.
The orphans browsed their way to the baobab tree water hole, stopping for their milk bottle close by before enjoying some fresh Lucerne grass that had been brought from the stockades for them to enjoy. As they fed, Tawi the orphan eland and his wild male eland friend came for a visit. Ndii and Tahri charged forward blocking the two from accessing the Lucerne grass. Tawi and his friend decided not to hang around and walked off leaving the orphans to enjoy a drink of water and a mud bath.
It was a bright morning with Sagala rumbling her impatience at wanting to be let out of the stockade as she could hear the sound of the milk bottles rolling around in the crates as the Keepers brought them out of the milk mixing room. She made sure to be the first one in line so as to get the very first milk bottle of the day. Godoma, Tahri and Emoli followed closely behind her downing their milk quickly so as to feed on the Lucerne pellets before heading out for the day.
The orphans slowly browsed their way to the baobab tree waterhole. After the noon milk fed Arruba, Ndii and Mashariki chose to go to the water trough to spray water on themselves. Bada and Rorogoi plunged into the water for a bath, with Suswa, Embu and Tundani joining them a few minutes later. The afternoon browsing session took place close to the waterhole.
It was a perfect beginning to the day with the orphan elephants emptying their morning milk bottle in a matter of seconds before enjoying the supplements that had been put out for them. They then became engaged in various games around the stockade compound before heading to the browsing grounds where they browsed in single file.
In the afternoon, Arruba and Mashariki, who came with the third milk feeding group, started lifting their trunks to smell their milk long before they arrived at the milk feeding area. Once the milk feeding was over the orphans headed to the water hole where they tested the water which they found to be quite cold; as such they were unsure whether or not to have a bath. Ndotto went and lay on the red earth piles rolling around on them while Nelion, Rorogoi and Mbirikani decided to be brave and plunged into the water for a swim. They ended up having so much fun that they got left behind when the others went back out to browse, but they caught up with the group later on.
This morning the milk-dependent orphans enjoyed their morning milk feed before gathering for the Lucerne grass pellet supplement feeding. They then had fun playing on the red earth piles around the stockade compound before heading out to browse. Soon after they arrived on the eastern side of Msinga Hill, the Voi orphans joined Mbirikani, who had spent the night out in the Park.
They had their noon milk feed on the northern side of Msinga Hill choosing to spend the day browsing and forgo visiting the waterhole. Lasayen and Sagala went to different sides of a big rock where Lasayen dug a small water hole and lay in it for a bath while Sagala enjoyed a scratching session. Nelion, Mudanda and Embu introduced a game of playing in an erosion trench with the rest of the orphan group coming to join them.
This morning Tahri enjoyed receiving love and affection from her adopted mother Ndii following the milk and supplement feeding. Lentili and Embu took the lead to the browsing grounds bringing a quick end to any games the rest were thinking of playing.
On the western foot of Msinga Hill, Mashariki, Mudanda, Kihari, Kenia and Bada headed uphill to browse on fresh vegetation with some of the others quickly following suit. Mbegu and her herd chose to stay browsing downhill. Ishaq-B who has been trying to take Mbegu’s herd for herself stayed browsing with them for a while before following Kenia’s group. At the noon milk feed Tahri and Araba were the only ones to come down for the afternoon milk feed, with the rest of Kenia’s herd descending only when it was time to return to the stockades for the night.
It was a busy beginning to the day as all the milk dependent orphan elephants gathered for their early morning milk bottle before settling for the Lucerne pellet feeding. Mudanda, Nguvu and Rorogoi all enjoyed a bottom scratching session against rock boulders while Ishaq-B, Suswa and Embu were busy rolling around on the red earth piles, show casing their dust bathing expertise to their friends. Ndoria came and stood by them watching but when they saw her they quickly stopped playing and got to their feet, after which the whole group headed to the browsing fields.
The day was very cloudy and cold and as such the orphans didn’t wallow when they visited the baobab tree waterhole at noon. Later in the afternoon it started raining, so Mbegu and Ndotto enjoyed an impromptu mud bath while Godoma, Sagala and Emoli played together in a rainwater puddle. Nelion enjoyed scratching his neck against a tree while Tundani and Arruba played in an erosion trench.
It was a lovely morning as the milk dependent orphans came running out of their stockades for their milk bottle after which they joined their older friends for some Lucerne pellets. Once the feeding was over they engaged in socializing games with Ngilai engaging Ndotto in a strength testing game while the others happily played on the red earth piles. Lentili and Kenia seemed to be particularly revved up and excited and charged around for a bit, and later Kenia led the orphan herd out of the stockades.
The orphans visited the baobab tree water hole after the noon milk feeding but didn’t wallow as the day had turned chilly. Ndotto chose to play in a shallow puddle, while Mbegu, Murit and Sagala cheered him on. The afternoon browsing session took place close to the waterhole.
The morning milk feed was followed by the Lucerne grass pellet feeding after which the orphans assembled for the usual stockade games.
Today was a big day for Pika Pika who left the taming stockade to join the Voi orphan herd out and about. Mbegu, Lentili, Ishaq-B, Kihari and Ndii stuck close to her which spooked her initially and she ran away from them, but it didn’t take her long to settle down and understand the routine.
Lentili, Mbegu and Kihari joined forces to lead the orphan herd to the western side of Msinga Hill to browse. The weather was cloudy and it rained lightly throughout the day; we recorded 9mm of rain.
Emoli seems to have noticed he is no longer the youngest baby in the herd as Pika Pika is now the youngest and he keeps trying to pick on Pika Pika whenever the two are in close proximity. The noon milk feed took place at the stockades after which the orphans went back to browsing, where Lentili stuck by Pika Pika, browsing side by side with her.
After the morning milk feed, the Voi orphan elephants gathered to feed on Lucerne grass pellets. Pika Pika was a little unsure about leaving her taming stockade but the Keepers called her and she soon came out to join her new friends. Ishaq-B was the first to welcome her and the two fed on the pellets together after which Pika Pika went for a scratching session against the orphan’s favourite rock.
Bada took the lead of the orphans to the browsing grounds today with Mbegu staying directly behind him. Once they arrived at the western foot of Msinga Hill, the orphans settled in single file to feed on the lush green grass and the creepers that have shot up following the recent rains.
Emoli still doesn’t seem happy to have Pika Pika around and he stopped browsing to pester Pika Pika and push her. After the noon milk feed, Emoli climbed on Pika Pika’s back as they walked to the baobab tree water hole. Nelion and Tundani enjoyed a strength testing pushing game. Later in the day, Pika Pika plunged into a small water puddle, rolling around in the shallow water enjoying a mud bath. Embu went and stood close by to make sure that none of the other orphans bothered the youngster.
This morning the orphans assembled in a near-perfect straight line to enjoy their Lucerne grass pellets. Pika Pika is still a little wary of her new friends and kept her distance. The Keepers noticed that she is still shy and gave her some pellets a little way away from the rest and she enjoyed her private supplement feeding.
At noon the orphan herd visited the baobab tree water hole for a drink of water following the noon milk bottles, after which they went back to browsing. Later in the afternoon they visited the small water hole that Pika Pika bathed in yesterday. Mbegu was the first to enter the water, showcasing her bathing style, before the rest joined her for a wallow. Murit took Pika Pika under her wing to teach her some wallowing techniques.
The orphans had their usual morning milk bottle and supplement feed after which Mashariki and Mudanda browsed from an acacia tree along the stockade fence line. Ex-orphan Mbirikani joined the orphans for some Lucerne pellets when she visited this morning.
Today Lentili took the lead of the orphan herd to the browsing fields. On the way Mudanda pushed Pika Pika but Mbegu quickly intervened putting herself between Mudanda and Pika Pika so that the youngster would be left in peace by Mudanda. .
The rains have started early this year and the Park is now green and full of lush fresh vegetation for the orphans to feed on which means they do not have to walk as far to find browse. The orphans visited the baobab tree water hole for their noon milk bottle and to drink from the water trough, after which they returned to their browsing activities. Lasayen took Murit away from browsing to play a strength testing game.
The morning was cloudy and cold as the orphan elephants exited the stockades for the morning milk bottle and supplement feeding. Emoli was naughty today and ambushed Pika Pika when she was feeding on pellets. Emoli pushed Pika Pika who was taken by surprise and cried out for help at which point Emoli promptly ran off, pretending not to have done anything at all, while Pika Pika took refuge close to Mbegu. The Keepers also intervened and stayed close by to ensure that everyone could enjoy their supplements in peace.
The orphans headed to the browsing grounds once the stockade events were over and settled to browse halfway up Msinga Hill where they remained until it was time for the noon milk feed. Later in the day, Ndotto engaged Tundani in a quick strength testing game while Mashariki spent the day browsing close to Pika Pika in an effort to get to know the youngster better.
It was a nice morning as the orphans ran around full of energy following their morning milk bottle and supplement food. They all enjoyed playing different games around the stockade with Kihari sitting on top of one of the stockade terraces while Ishaq-B climbed up and down the same terrace. Ndii played with Tahri lying on her stomach while Kenia stood watch.
Once the fun and games were over the orphan herd made their way to the browsing grounds and settled halfway up the northern side of Msinga Hill for the morning browsing session. While there Mbegu engaged Ndotto in a pushing game while Lasayen took on Godoma and Ngilai played with Emoli. Ngilai lay on the ground in order to slide downhill on the slippery grass while Emoli climbed on his back. The orphans visited the baobab tree water for milk and water before returning to their browsing activities.
There was some heavy clouds overhead today when the orphans exited the stockades. The orphans downed their morning milk bottle and played some brief games before heading out for the day.
Tahri lay down in an effort to attract her adopted mothers Kenia and Ndii for a game but neither one came as they were enjoying feeding on the Lucerne pellets.
The Voi dependent orphans spent the morning browsing on the eastern side of Msinga Hill, under the stewardship of Mbegu and Rorogoi. Embu then headed further uphill to browse and was joined by the rest of the group. They all enjoyed feeding on the lush green grass and drinking rainwater from any holes and crevices they came across.
The milk dependent orphans came downhill for their milk bottle at noon and after they resumed browsing on the northern foot of Msinga Hill. Here they were later joined by their older friends and the two groups browed there until it was time to return to the safety of the stockades for the night.
This morning Ndii and Rorogoi took the lead of the orphan herd to the browsing grounds following the milk and supplement feeding. The two leaders soon noticed a wild herd that was browsing on the western side of Msinga Hill. Ndii started running to join the wild herd and was followed by Rorogoi and the rest of the herd. The orphans were excited to see the wild herd as they had not encountered once since the beginning of the rains earlier this month. The wild herd was not sure what was happening however and ran off thinking that the orphans were being chased by something. One teenage wild elephant turned around and joined the orphans for a play fighting game with Lentili before leaving to rejoin her wild herd.
The orphans visited the baobab tree water hole for the noon milk bottle and a drink of water from the trough. They chose not to wallow in the mud bath and instead returned to the bush where they later wallowed in a small waterhole filled with thick mud. Mbegu’s herd and Pika Pika were the only ones to enjoy this mud bath.
This morning the orphans teamed up in groups to play games of hide and seek around the stockade compound before heading out for the day. Pika Pika stayed very close to the Keepers, watching the games from the sidelines but not wanting to join in.
When the games were over the orphan herd followed Arruba, Suswa and Tundani to the browsing fields. They spent the morning feeding before arriving at the baobab tree water hole in groups of five for the noon milk feed. Pika Pika, Tahri, Araba, Sagala and Emoli came first followed closely by the rest of their friends.
As the orphans were walking to the water hole they passed two wild bulls browsing, one of which joined them at the water hole. Rorogoi, Bada and Ndotto went to greet the bull and after a brief encounter with him they returned to the bush to resume their browsing activities.
After the morning milk feed, the orphans gathered at the supplement feeding area to enjoy their Lucerne pellets. Ngilai and Murit engaged in their usual strength-testing pushing game while Naipoki enjoyed rolling on the red earth piles where she was joined by Arruba and Embu.
Ndotto and Bada took the lead of the orphans towards the northern side of the stockades for the begging of the browsing day. Ndotto ended up seeking shelter from the scorching sun under a small tree, before rejoining the group as they continued on their browsing journey with Mashariki leading them to the northern foot of Msinga Hill. The orphans browsed in single file on the open grounds of the northern side of Msinga Hill where Lasayen and Murit engaged in a strength testing game. When they were done the group made their way to the waterhole.
After the mid-day milk feed the orphan herd visited the baobab waterhole for a quick bath. Pika Pika has become Mbegu and Godoma’s favourite baby and spent the day browsing with the two of them.
As usual the orphans were busy feeding on Lucerne pellets this morning following the milk feed. They then engaged in games around the stockade compound with Tahri and Emoli using Kenia as a scratching post. Arruba was not happy about this and came charging in wanting to fight them but Kenia upheld the peace, letting Arruba know that everything was okay, while Mbegu and Ndii watched on.
The orphan herd settled to browse on the western side of the stockades on the open grasslands and even had their noon milk feed there where they also drank water from the numerous rainwater puddles in the area. In the afternoon Arruba took a break from browsing to lie on the ground and roll around playing. Tahri came to join her and Arruba was happy to play with the youngster. Mudanda and Tundani enjoyed a strength testing game before rejoining their friends for the rest of the afternoons browsing activities. Later in the evening they returned to the stockades for the night.
It was an early morning start to the day for the orphans and it was drizzling as they enjoyed their milk and supplement foods. Godoma, Emoli and Tahri came sprinting out of their night quarters for their milk which they downed in a matter of seconds. Mbirikani then enjoyed rolling on the ground covering herself in the wet mud. Kihari decided to come and join her and in the end outshone Mbirikani who got up for a scratching session on the famous rock where she encountered Panda who engaged her in a pushing game. Pika Pika enjoyed scratching against a rock close to the stockade water trough.
Ishaq-B stood holding her ear with her trunk for a while leaving Kenia and Arruba wondering what she was doing. Once out in the browsing fields Ndotto decided to roll around on the wet ground but none of the other orphans joined him as they were all busy browsing on the wet grass. Murit and Ngilai eventually took a break from browsing to play a strength testing game.
The milk dependent orphans came rushing out of their stockades to grab their morning milk bottle after which they proceeded to the Lucerne pellet feeding area. Kenia and Ndii kept close watch of their adopted babies Araba and Tahri while Godoma and Mbegu stayed with their adopted babies Emoli and Pika Pika. Once the supplement feeding was over the orphans headed to the browsing grounds.
The orphan herd had a quiet morning browsing session before visiting the baobab tree waterhole to drink water and milk before returning to their browsing activities. Later in the day they enjoyed playing in an erosion trench with Ngilai and Lasayen lying on their sides and sliding to the bottom. Mbirikani took Araba for a trench game which Nguvu broke up by engaging Araba in a pushing game.
The orphan elephants were in a jovial mood as they exited their stockade for their morning milk bottle which they gulped down before heading to the supplement feeding area for their Lucerne pellets. Pika Pika then went to scratch her leg against the walls of the pellet feeding trough making sure to stay close to her adopted mother Mbegu.
The weather was fairly cold as Mbegu and Lentili took the lead of the orphan herd to the browsing grounds where they enjoyed feeding on the lush green grass that has been shooting up as a result of the rains. The orphans took a break from browsing on the northern foot of Msinga Hill to play in a deep erosion trench. They visited the baobab tree water hole where Ndoria sprayed water over her body while Nelion and Tundani engaged one another in a strength testing game.
Later in the afternoon, Araba and Emoli introduced their friends to a waterhole out in the bush where they all enjoyed a wonderful mud bathing session.
It was a cold morning following a heavy down pour during the night. The Voi dependent orphan elephants enjoyed their milk feed before joining their older friends at the Lucerne pellet feeding area. Godoma and Arruba engaged one another in a strength testing pushing game which they had to cut short as the rest of the group were leaving the stockade compound under Bada and Nguvu’s leadership.
The orphan elephant’s had their noon milk feed on the eastern foot of Msinga Hill before resuming with their browsing activities. They navigated their way around big rock boulders to feed on green grass and drank rainwater from the numerous catchments on the hill. They spent the afternoon browsing peacefully before coming down to return to the safety of the stockades in the evening.
The orphans exited their stockade this morning with the milk dependent orphans stopping to have their milk bottle before joining their friends for the supplement feeding. It was drizzling as they made their way to the browsing fields under Lentili and Bada’s leadership.
They enjoyed feeding on moist grass with Tundani and Nelion separating themselves from the rest of the group for a private browsing session. The two rejoined the orphan herd as they headed to the waterhole at noon. Once there, the milk dependent orphans downed their delicious milk bottle before going to the baobab tree waterhole for a drink of water.
Pika Pika took the lead of the group back to the browsing fields in the afternoon. The orphans enjoyed wallowing in a waterhole that they came across when out and about. Arruba was very excited in the bath, staying in the water longer than the rest and rejoining the group a few minutes later.
It was another wonderful beginning to the day with the Voi dependent orphan elephants concentrating on their milk and supplement feeding before taking off towards the browsing grounds. Before heading out, Mbirikani and Panda became engaged in a strength testing game with Mbirikani lying on the ground so that Panda could lie on her stomach to play. They had to cut their game short as Ndii, Kenia and Kihari were gathering the group to head out for the day.
Mbegu and Godoma went further uphill to browse giving Naipoki the opportunity to spend some quality time browsing with Pika Pika before Mbegu came down to reclaim her adopted baby as they prepared to make their way to the mud bath.
The afternoon was spent browsing on the northern foot of Msinga Hill where Ndoria attempted to try and slide down the sides of a deep erosion trench before rethinking her game as it appeared she felt it was a little dangerous.
The orphans were in a happy mood as they exited their stockades this morning. Ngilai was in a greedy mood too, and went around his friends demanding their share of milk. He approached each of the orphans in turn but was turned down and when he realized he was approaching Ndoria he quickly backtracked as he knew she would certainly reprimand him for even trying. The orphans then assembled to feed on the Lucerne grass pellets, taking up trunkful’s at a time and stuffing them into their mouths. Ndotto went and played with Nelion who walked over to engage him in a pushing game.
The orphans headed to the browsing fields under Lentili and Ishaq-B’s leadership. They visited the baobab tree waterhole at noon for their milk feed and a drink of water after which Tundani tested the mud bath water with his trunk but found it too cold for a wallow. Rorogoi ousted Nguvu from the baobab tree so that she could take Nguvu’s scratching post for herself after which the orphan herd returned to the browsing fields.
The day began with the milk dependent orphans gulping down their morning milk bottle before settling to enjoy the copra cake and Lucerne pellets that the Keepers put out for them. Kihari then went to enjoy a scratching session against a rock close to the stockade waterhole. Emoli approached Kihari to join her, which Kihari allowed. When Tahri wanted to do the same, Kihari moved away so that Tahri could have a turn, but made sure to stand guard so as to ensure that no one came and bothered the two while they were feeding.
Embu and Rorogoi took the lead of the orphans as they headed out for the day. Ngilai and Murit took a break from browsing to engage one another in a strength testing pushing game. Arruba later had fun rolling around in a trench on the side of the hill but was not joined by any of her friends as they were busy browsing.
The orphan elephants visited the baobab tree water hole for their noon milk bottle but did not have a swim as it was a rather cold day. The rest of the days browsing activities took place close to the waterhole with the orphans returning to the safety of the stockades for the night.