A good way of telling how good a water hole is, is by establishing the amount of regular customers it has. Well, here at Mwamba bush camp at our in-camp hide, which is right by a water hole, we have our fair share of repeat customers.
We have a small family of elephants, among others, coming down to use the water hole. The particular group in the photos consists of one adult female and two youngsters, the youngest being around four to five years old and the eldest around the eight to ten mark. Nothing unusual there as it is more common in the South Luangwa for us to see small family groups rather than big herds.
What is unusual is the style in which the youngest of the group chooses to drink. Instead of the conventional elephant method of using his trunk to suck up water and then squirt it in to his mouth this particular ellie opts to just dive straight in mouth first and forgo the trunk altogether!
Now if the animal was only eighteen months to two years old this would not be unusual; at that stage in its development it would still be figuring out how to use its trunk, but by five years of age it should have the ability to drink as any self-respecting elephant would.
All we can assume is that he just enjoys a good swim and a play at drinking time, as we have witnessed this particular elephant use its trunk to great effect when feeding. Maybe one day the youngster will grow out of this funny habit but for the time being it does provide us with some great daily entertainment down at our Mwamba hide.