The lodge, a hotel and restaurant which also offers elephant walks, was a very African take on a traditional English hunting lodge; the mandatory stag head mounted on a central wall was replaced with the head of a rhino, and in place of the portrait of the master of the house was an oil painting of a pride of lions.
After a brief nose around, much to the disgruntlement of the paying guests, we set off in another cloud of orange dust on our elephant walk.
We stopped by a river and our guide told us that we were waiting for the elephants to come to us, as they come to that point of the river every morning. Sure enough, the 25-year old mother and two 5-year old daughters (one adopted) soon appeared to drink and bathe in the river.
Once these magnificent animals were comfortable with out presence, we were able to approach and stroke them. Their skin was rough and dry, but the experience of stroking a fully grown elephant in her natural habitat was incredible.
We spent about an hour walking with them in the blazing heat, taking photos and interacting with them, before we ended up at what I can only describe as the deserted set of a Western film (Fake, I suspect, placed there for the entertainment of the visitors), including a bar called "Fatani's", the same name as the bar in Wild at Heart, one of my favourite TV series. (**Edit: see below)
|Volunteers enjoying refreshments overlooking stunning views|
**EDIT** - Further research has just told me that Wild at Heart IS filmed at Glen Afric. Whilst we were there I semi-consciously snapped this picture of a building which I thought vaguely resembled Leopard's Den, the central house of the series. Turns out is IS Leopard's Den!!!
Even more exciting, the terrace where we had our post-walk refreshments is part of the lodge used to film the scenes at Mara, the neighbouring safari guesthouse to Lion's Den.
Anyone who knows me even a tiny bit knows how excited I am right now!!
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