August 18, 2014
- as seen by -Tim Lewthwaite
The phrase “white elephant” originated in Southeast Asia where white elephants symbolized a just ruler. In modern English, it is an idiom with a negative connotation: used to highlight a project or object that has a burdensome cost but little value.
Driving in Etosha National Park in northern Namibia, I came across a bachelor herd of white elephants – not something you expect to see every day, even in Africa. This particular group frequents a water hole that is saturated in what the locals call “kalk”, better known to us as lime.
The elephants cool off in the water. When the sun burns off the moisture, they are left with a coating of the light-colored material.
They are one of my favorite sights in Southern Africa – the white elephants of Etosha.