As luck would have it, I (Cody) was selected to join the 5th grade trip to Mikumi. I left on Wednesday excited and nervous, and returned on Saturday exhausted.
The bus ride is about 5 hours depending on traffic and the driver. I rode in the large bus with 20 students and 4 other adults. The ride there was great without a hitch.
Once we arrived at the camp, the students went to their Bandas to settle in and get ready for our first game drive. I decided to take some pictures around the camp. The elephants were out in force. There was a large group by the closest watering hole.
As I was watching a noticed one of the larger elephants breaking from the group and walking past me. I took a couple of photos of him and then continued to watch the large group.
When I checked back with the lone elephant I noticed he was heading toward the bandas at a leisurely pace. I thought “Hmmm, how close will he get? I bet the kids are going to love this.” I took a few photos. He stopped moving, and I thought all was well and again, went back to the elephant group.
Then I took another look back and he was on the move again, heading straight through camp. While the students were supposed to be in their bandas I was a little worried that they would be curious enough to get too close to the elephant. I ran over to the student bandas and we put them all on lock-down. “Look out your windows, but nobody is to go outside on the porches.” Some staff came out to speed up the elephant moving on, but he didn’t seem to notice. We stayed on lock-down for about 15 minutes as he roamed around the camp.
Once he moved to a safe distance, the students came out and we heading out on our first game drive. We had only been in Mikumi for an hour and this was already a great trip. I couldn’t wait to see what was coming next.