Room with a view.

It’s been a while since I’ve been woken up by an elephant. The last time was in the wilds of Kenya, when a massive bull elephant was busily ripping the forest outside my safari tent.

The second time was last night, and the location is central Bali. This time, however, the elephant was tethered, and it woke me by clanking its chain over and over again. Finally, risking being called a nuisance journalist who complains about everything (‘the birdsong is too loud in the morning!’), I rang reception who said they would immediately contact their mahout on call. Two minutes later: peaceful elephant, peaceful journalist.

Taro Elephant Safari Park is home to 30 Sumatran elephants, the world’s smallest elephant. However, they’re still seriously big beasts, and the view from my lodge room was of eight elephants, busily eating, snoozing and peeing, which sounds like a burst fire hydrant. The brief spurt of clanking aside, it was surprisingly quiet, sleeping beside eight elephants, save the occasional long, nasal snort.

Hats off to founders Nigel and Yanie Mason, who not only rescued the elephants from devastated landscapes and logging camps, but also envisaged such ideas as stepping out of your room and into a teak elephant seat, atop an elephant headed out for a night safari beneath the stars. A beautiful park and a wonderful chance to meet happy, healthy pachyderms.