Mazuma Pan (also known as Masuma Reservoir) is one of the larger water-bodies in Hwange National Park, and is well worth a visit pretty much any time of day.
But it really comes to life in the late afternoon when hundreds of elephants come to the water to drink and bathe.
Driving to Mazuma Pan we had the chance to see the diverse range of habitats that make up this huge National Park; with wide grassy plains giving way to dense mopane forests and towering rocky outcrops.
As we neared the pan we encountered a large herd of buffalo heading towards the water;
a journey of giraffe too.
The hide at Mazuma is spacious; it needs to be, as it is a place where you can happily spend several hours watching the animals come and go.
Almost as soon as we arrived, we could see elephants coming in from every direction; some singly, others in family groups. Mothers with young calves by their sides and frisky young males, jostling for pole position by the outlet pipe, greedy for the cleanest water.
There was no right or wrong place to stand as wherever you looked there were elephants in abundance; some just drinking, others bathing.
Even here, with a full pan and plenty of space for them all to drink, there was a hierarchy and although the larger solitary bull elephants were quite happy to drink alongside the females and youngsters, they were less tolerant of other males.
In one instance, we watched as a large male elephant made his way towards the water; as he got close another male saw him and took exception to his presence, running around the edge of the pan to chase the new arrival away before he even had a chance to get his trunk wet.
We didn’t count the actual number of elephants we saw that evening, but it was in the hundreds. As one group moved away, another came crashing through the trees, hurrying to the water. Even as we were leaving, we could see and hear lots more elephants arriving.