Abu soothes the soul

Meet Priyanka Handa Ram. You may have seen Priyanka building Tippy Taps last week on CITW social media with Fern Brasem, our CITW Programme Coordinator in Gaborone, Botswana. Priyanka does some amazing work herself in communities through a programme called  Learn to Play/Ithute Go Tshameka.

She recently visited Abu Camp with Wilderness Safaris and wrote the most wonderful review on her time there, as well as a story on the beautiful Abu herd of elephants. Thank you, Priyanka, for sharing this, and your images, with us:

I’m almost at a loss for words about how incredible this trip was for me. I went because I genuinely needed some time to myself and it was the most healing, transformative and connecting two days I’ve ever experienced. The staff at the camp treated me like family, the arrangements were seamless, the Wilderness team at the airport and on the flight were helpful and efficient. Everything was pretty much perfection. I couldn’t have wished for more and will definitely be going back! 

On a separate note, I’m a children’s book author. The Abu herd touched me so deeply – I wanted to share with you that I wrote a story about the elephants in the herd and left it with the lodge.

Meet The Herd

Deep in the Delta there’s a place called home,
A hive of activity sweeter than honeycomb. 
Everything about elephants – Abu Camp,
On your heart it imprints a trunked stamp.

Cathy greets you with her matriarchal love, 
Be careful of her trunk though, you may get a shove.
Born in Uganda with a  story of strife,
Cathy is a movie star living a colourful life. 
Her passport stamps have Canada, South Africa and more,
The tales from her travels make elephant folklore.

Lorato joined the herd in time for Valentines Day,
Watch out for the mud bathing games she likes to play.
She’s big sister to Naledi, everyone’s shining “star”,
The celebrity Ellie people visit from afar. 
Despite being orphaned, Naledi is full of spunk,
With a smile of mischief, she swipes treasures in her trunk. 

Then Lorato, which means “love”, became Mama and her heart sang,
Motlotlo – a boy to join this trailblazing girl gang,
“We are filled with joy” to welcome him home,
To this special place Abu, where elephants roam. 

Sirheni means “where the old cows meet”, 
And what she’s accomplished is no ordinary feat.
Orphaned by a cull in Kruger National Park, 
Sirheni’s life could have been sombre and dark.
Yet she’s the natural mother of the herd – never a fuss,
With four of her own calves, including Warona – “born for us”.
Warona is 8 years old, playful as ever,
Soil dusting with Lorato and Paseka, always together. 

Paseka’s “Easter” story 
Could have been gory.
Attacked by hyenas she sought refuge with rangers,
Hidden in a generator room, she risked many dangers.
Now the mother of Shamiso – who was an early “surprise”,
The baby of the herd, the apple of our eyes. 

Here you have the Abu elephant parade,
They’ve stolen my heart, now I’m an urban renegade.
My time with them in the Wilderness is a luxury retreat,
I’ve been blessed by their trunks and kissed by their heartbeat.