Picture this – an elephant strolling nonchalantly into a hotel lobby on a mission for a snack from its cherished fruit tree! This astonishing occurrence was recently captured on video at a hotel in Zambia.
Ian Salisbury, a 68-year-old safari guide at Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, was behind the lens when this surprising spectacle occurred.
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The footage shows an elephant meandering through the hotel, pausing momentarily to exchange glances with a receptionist before resuming its journey.
The elephant’s destination? A Wild Mango tree (Cordyla africana) is situated within the hotel grounds.
While the region is teeming with mango trees, elephants in this area have been known to take this particular detour through the hotel from October to December. They’re not just seeking any mango tree but one special tree on the hotel’s property.
This tree is a favorite among three generations of the same elephant family who partake in this annual pilgrimage.
“Even though the vicinity is rich with these trees, some elephants have staked their claim on this specific lodge tree over many years,” Ian observed.
“They have their preferred route—up the entrance steps, straight through the enclosed reception area—completely indifferent to the hotel’s human occupants.”
These majestic creatures seemingly remember which trees yield plentiful food during certain seasons.
Ian, who’s spent four decades observing elephants, expressed his awe at their willingness to approach humans so closely. He emphasized their near-human intelligence and characteristics.
“I’m inclined to believe that this behavior—so comfortably entering the lodge—underscores a unique symbiotic relationship between elephants and humans,” Ian said, noting their trust in humans not to harm them.
“It’s a rather unusual spectacle that all our guests are eager to see and capture on camera,” he added.
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