By Sarah Todd
At midnight, our Harare friends woke us with great excitement: “You’re going to want to see this!” We sat up and peered over the balcony into the moonlit plain below the platform.
The legend had become reality. There were at least five separate herds of elephants patiently waiting their turn at Bhenji Weir. More were walking down the trails towards them, their distinctive shapes clearly defined by the full moon. Fully-grown elephants, teenagers and babies… all fulfilling a timeless annual ritual. The water splashing in the weir as other herds drank, washed and played in the cool green liquid told us the occupants of the other platform had a prime seat at this unique show.
As one herd exited the weir, another moved in, calmly, patiently and with great dignity. Some walked back along the same paths while others used a path up the incline between the two viewing platforms. They footsteps were silent, the only sounds betraying them from their huge bodies brushing against branches and twigs and the occasional “whoosh” of air from their trunks.
More herds arrived throughout the night. I recall some rumbles from the elephants bathing in the weir. Those of us witnessing the spectacle felt the full power of nature, and each of us felt honoured and privileged to have been present that night…