• Author: Adele Grunberg
  • Date Posted: Aug 17, 2003
  • Address: Tanzania

​One day, Juliet and I are in a very small boat, big enough for just us and the boat operator. We are on the Rufiji River. We see two very special things. In the mud banks of the river, there are hundreds of small holes. As we get closer, we see that in those holes are White-Fronted Bee Eaters chirping madly. But the most spectacular part is the color of these birds: iridescent green wings, yellow chests, scarlet and navy blue stripes on their necks and faces. So many all at once in the same place!

Later on as dusk approaches, we notice a large herd of elephants gathering on one side of the river. They line up trunk-to-tail, about twenty in all. What are they doing? The boat driver tells us to watch carefully and we do. What we see next is astonishing. The elephants enter the water right in front of the boat and swim across the river! The river is deep and wide. The elephants are not walking. They remain attached to one another the entire swim. Only when they get to the other side and are safely on the bank do they detach themselves from one another. This is truly awesome to behold. The boatman tells us this happens every day.

That night after dinner, we are standing by the river in our camp feeling the silken air and gazing at the full orange moon hanging low in the sky as it casts a soft glow over this quiet, remote place. We retire to our rock hut and prepare for sleep. As we get comfortable in our beds we see something in the corner of the ceiling. It is moving. It takes us a moment to realize what it is: a large, long, thick snake slithering in and out of the rock construction. It is a scary proposition falling asleep I can tell you.

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