Thank you to our guest, Bonita, who wrote the below blog on her time spent at Camp Kuzuma, Chobe.
Elephants in your lounge.
Elephants inside your private lounge. In your space. Breathing, snorting, drinking, playing in the mud. Right in front of you – almost at arms’ length – almost touchable, but just out of reach.
That’s what I remember about Camp Kuzuma.
Deep in the savannahs of Botswana you can find this hidden gem of a lodge, not far from Kasane (about a three-hour drive from Victoria Falls) and the most remarkable feeling upon arrival is the unmistakable sense of familiarity. Like arriving back home after a long trip away. The scene, the chairs, something in the air. It’s hard to put a finger on it, this aura of comfort – like home comfort, the true sense of belonging – of being where you belong.
The deck is an extension of the lounge. And the savannah is an extension of the deck. All are at one in this environment. So take a seat in the lounge, and you become part of the wild. Dip your feet in the pool and you instantly feel part of the pan where the elephants drink.
There is a distance, of course; but the ‘homey’ quality of this lodge conveys a closeness that you feel in your own home. The elephants could be on your television, while you watch from a poolside chair. But they are not characters in a movie, their movements are not directed, not planned, not scripted. It is real. It is realer than real.
The babies linger between their mother’s legs, happily playing in the muddy waters while the older ones splash around, drinking, also playing and tossing the water high into the air and over their backs. They are hot, restless; in need of reprieve from their long day in the heat. They are so like us, yet unlike us – in their gathering, the way they socialize. It is fascinating to watch these great animals right in front of us as if in our own living room.
It is in this moment of privilege, of mutual respite – both for the elephants and for us humans – that I have felt the most ‘at home’ in the most foreign of places. This is more than a holiday. This is truly being at one with nature, and nature being at one with me.
Images: Kevin Trench