A rustling noise. Just once. Then again, louder. Closer.
“If you look over there, and wait very quietly, then you might just see… an elephant”, our guide whispered, experienced eyes trained on the dense shrubbery to the left of our vehicle.
Sure enough, it started to emerge – tip of the trunk first, searching the ground for fallen fruit. Then slowly, as if with all the time in the world, the elephant ambled into view. For a creature so large, it moved gracefully, each foot seemingly carefully placed on the uneven earth. I remember marvelling at the dry, cracked mud on its back, clinging to every wrinkle and fold of its skin. And then almost as soon as it had appeared, it was gone again – crossing the track ahead of us and disappearing back into the trees.
I will never forget the first time I saw such animals outside of a zoo, but for me the joy and amazement of doing so has not diminished since. There is something real and satisfying about seeing animals in their natural habitat, interacting with each other and their surroundings. It makes you feel peaceful and yet vulnerable, an outsider looking in, who sees – for just a fleeting moment – a completely different side of life.
This collection of images was taken in South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.