Elephant Stories (Maasai Mara Stories – 4)

We really wanted to see a lot of elephants in Maasai Mara. They were one of my main draws. Bigger, heavier than Asian elephants, Savanna elephants are the largest and heaviest land animals on the planet! We expected to see a fair lot of them grazing, but came across them only thrice! We hoped to see more in Nakuru, but our guide categorically dismissed all such hopes – “No elephants in Nakuru.”

We went through two hours on the first evening without any sign of elephants. The next morning as we were starting on our all-day drive towards the Mara river, we saw a bunch of vehicles stopped on the road and folks in them looking into the distance. Turned out that there was a herd in the bush. It was a largish herd, with a massive matriarch.
Elephant herd
Elephant herd, calf shows up
I noticed one last elephant following and it turned out to be a horny bull looking for any cows in heat. Not sure if any were interested, as they kept him at a safe distance.
Horny male elephant hanging by

The same afternoon as we were driving towards the river I spotted one calf and its mother. We stopped nearby, by a small waterhole and waited for them to turn up. After a few minutes, one after the other they started coming out of the bush.

First there was the calf and another elephant with it. This larger elephant turned out to be an adolescent bull. Likely to be kicked out of the herd in some years.
Adolescent male and a calf
Next the matriarch emerged from the bush and made her way with the other two to the waterhole.
Matriarch shows up
There were four of them in total that came out.
Herd of visible 4
The calf reached the edge of the water, and the matriarch also came down. They spent a good while chilling there, putting sludge all over themselves.
African elephants
Slush bath
Slush bath

This is when we left them and moved on to the Mara river.

The next morning there were no elephants to be seen. Evening, there weren’t many animals to be seen at all, and then a lot of vehicles started making a beeline in one direction, which we decided to follow. Turned out it was for a bush where there was a male lion chilling. We caught one glimpse of it before it went back into the bushes. (We then drove back to the other side and got a few shots of it.)

However, this is when we also caught sight of an elephant herd moving in the open grass.
Elephants in the bush
As we drove back to the other side, the main hope was to catch this herd at close quarters. We skipped past the vehicles standing near the lion herd and moved on to the elephants.

They passed us, a calf, the matriarch and 4 other elephants. The matriarch was huge!
Isn’t she beautiful?
Elephant matriarch
They were so close that I could shoot using my phone!
Elephants, mara

They climbed up the bush, went over to he other side and moved on.
Climb up the bush
Elephants, Mara
That was the last sighting of African elephants for us. The lions had apparently been disturbed by their presence and had gotten out, which made life easy for us, in terms of photos.


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