The Elephants Who Came to Dinner

Mfuwe Lodge in South Luang National Park, Zambia, is spread beneath a magnificent canopy of ebony and mahogany trees. Its thatched buildings are arranged around the banks of two lagoons where an endless stream of wildlife wander. A wild mango tree has lured generations of elephants every November, long before the lodge was built.

            The first year Mfuwe opened for business, the elephants made it clear this betrayal of their space would not change their route or intentions. They walked into the open-air lobby with no warning, shuffled through and out into the courtyard to feast on the mangoes. Don’t you wish you could have seen the look on the face of the reception desk clerk that day? Every year since that first one, the elephants’ sojourn to the mango tree draws crowds of tourists to the lodge. The elephants ignore them, intent on only one thing – mangoes.

            According to the lodge owners, the group that makes the annual stroll through the lobby represents several generations of one elephant family – including their matriarch, “Wonky Tusk,” and the youngest addition, “Lord Wellington,” who was a baby when he made his first lobby march. Baby elephants are incredibly protected by their female family. Imagine the trust level that elephant mom demonstrated, bringing her child into a building inhabited by humans. Who knew mangoes were that enticing!

SHARON CANFIELD DORSEY is the author of four children’s books, a memoir, Daughter of the Mountains; a book of poetry, Tapestry; and a travel memoir, Road Trip. WATCH FOR A NEW BOOK OF POETRY, OUT THIS SUMMER, TITLED, WALK WITH ME.

All of Sharon’s books are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, High Tide Publications, and from the author.

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