During our May 2013 KNP Elephant Safari we were really privileged to see Kaleka late in the afternoon just before gate closing time within 2 km of where we were camped in Tsendze.
We were heading for camp quite relaxed after yet another marvelous day talking about seeing several large tuskers since we left the Shingwedzi river behind us. As we rounded the bend before the turn-off to the Mooiplaas Picknick Spot I noticed two elephants in the distance and pointing them out to the others Lettie, the dedicated tusker hunter that she is, immediately called out that it is yet another big tusker and a monster at that !
We were quite far from the tusker and I kept steady at 50 km/h to close the distance as quick as possible since the elephants were now scampering across the road. Lettie grabbed the camera with the shorter lens and started shooting through the windscreen while I switched the engine off and coasted in on the elephants which were now over the road and moving into the dense mopani forest.
We have familiarized ourselves from Aat's TUSKERSOFAFRICA as to which tuskers we could expect here and was certain that it was Kaleka whose back was now showing in the mopani but, how to get a better view ? Certainly we could not go to camp with only a few second's view of this magnificent tusker !
Looking and listening to their movements it was clear they were moving towards the Tsendze river and that they will have to cross the dust road which turned off some 50 m behind us. I reversed back to the turn-off and then proceeding quietly [ that's why I insist on a petrol engined vehicle ] down the dust road and soon Lettie could hear the elepants moving through the mopani to our left - they have not yet crossed the dust road !
The engine was switched off again and now the waiting game commenced. After quite a while Kaleka's askari was first to show himself and then a short while later Kaleka became partly visible behind some mopani shrubbery.
A few minutes later and Kaleka boldly crossed the dust road right in front of us :-
He quickly walked into the mopani forrest to our right and with the sun now well behind the horison. I quietly moved the vehicle backwards down the "River Loop" road giving Lettie, who was on the LH side the best possible view for photos.
Unfortunately Kaleka remained well into the mopani but Lettie managed this close-up photo of his tusks :-
Just look at Kaleka's left tusk - although curved forward it actually is not much shorter than the right tusk and beautifully thick - certainly a tusk of note in it's own right.
But that right tusk - whaaaw !
A minute or so later and we were relaxing with a sundowner in our campsite, still flabbergasted with the knowledge of seeing several exceptional tuskers since leaving the Shingwedzi River - WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD ! !