It was a February dawn in South Africa in 2008, and I was about to fulfill a dream to ride on an elephant through the African dawn. After a thorough orientation to the elephants here at Camp Jabulani, the time came to ride them out into the bush veldt. I climbed up a platform ramp, received instruction on using the stirrup and keeping my weight balanced, I swung a leg over Jabulani’s broad back. Isaac Mathole, one of the men who had accompanied the elephants from Zimbabwe, was already on Jabulani when I landed. I was startled by how rudely I landed, but Jabulani didn’t flinch and Isaac just laughed. Paul adjusted my stirrups, and then Jabulani walked off with me bouncing along on his back, absolutely gobsmacked (me, that is!).
Isaac and I chatted over his shoulder. He told me that he loved his life of working with the elephants, and asked me if we have any wild animals in California, where I’m from. Sure, of course, I said, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, foxes, rattlesnakes.Read More