In 2008, I went to Botswana for the second time. This time I traveled with my parents. They had come to see what exactly I was up to in South Africa. I planned a trip so that they would see as much as possible in a short time. I knew I needed to take them to Botswana, were I had already been, to show them the beauty of another African country.
One day we were on a boat for a river cruise as part of a game drive. There was a herd of elephants that looked as though they wanted to move across the river for lusher feeding. Someone asked the guide ‘can elephants swim?’ He replied, “No they cannot.” It was obvious he did not know the correct answer! They began, one by one, following the next into the water, swimming like professionals, bobbing as they went. “Elephants don’t swim? Oh really, look there,” I thought to myself.
Contrary to what this guide explained, elephants are actually very good swimmers and will take to water to help cool off in the hot African sun. When confronted with a swollen river they will cross over for better food sources. Most animals, besides us and other primates, can swim without really ever learning how. Elephants even have a built in snorkel!