It’s the emerald season in central Africa. Wonky Tusk the elephant matriarch and her family walk right through the Mfuwe Lodge past the artwork, the elegant reception desk, and enthralled guests on their way to feast on the wild mangoes out back. The rains have come and the grey veld has miraculously rejuvenated. The muted browns of winter have given way to lush greens and the Luangwa Valley in Southern Zambia is at its best.

South Luangwa is one of the finest wildness areas in the African continent. Mfuwe Lodge is the crown jewel for lovers of wildlife and the ancient beauty of Africa. The wild elephants that visit the lodge are old News in terms of media reporting, but their total trust in the guardians of their sanctuary will never grow old or boring for the visitors who live the experience.

There are thousands of beautiful places in the world, but there's nothing quite as exhilarating as the wild and protected places of Africa.  When wild animals move into human territory, unconcerned and non-confrontational something happens to the soul. There is no other way to fully describe the experience other than in terms of the spirit, the soul, and the primeval reminder of our human roots.

Mrs. Wonky and her family have been visiting the lodge for three generations. The elephant family has become famous over the years and have starred in documentaries and even in books written for children. There are less well-known elephants in Africa who interact with humans. Chirundu Hotel near the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe became locally famous as the elephants visited every day to drink water from the swimming pool.

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 Mana Pools UNESCO Heritage Site has Boswell, the collared old tusker who entrances campers with his laid- back attitude and close encounters of the unaggressive kind. We see their pictures on Facebook and hold thumbs, say a fleeting prayer for their survival as the poaching epidemic sweeps across Africa.

Poaching is devastating elephant populations across Africa but the world has become more conscious of the nature of animals in modern times. Gone are the days when priests and popery insisted they had no souls. Long gone are the days when elephants were valued solely for their ivory or the taste of grilled elephant liver at the hunting camp. The growing awareness of the value of the wilderness has millions of people across the globe reaching into their bank account or their piggy bank to fund the future of Africa’s elephants.  

Mrs. Wonky Tusk, elephant ambassador, and her family will keep that awareness growing; keep the funding coming in and hopefully, save the last of her kind from extinction.