On safari, its not generally a good sign when someone starts videoing your vehicle, because the chances are you are about to star in a viral YouTube video about a dangerous or scary incident. So when the people in a car in front of us turned around to video us and an elephant, I was not very happy!
We were in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa and instances of elephants using cars as scratching posts have been fairly common. In the notes on the park map it even says that if you come across a bull elephant walking down a road towards you ‘do not pull over & allow the elephant to pass’ as this may encourage the elephant to take an interest in your car.
One morning we came around a blind corner on a dirt road and found a big bull elephant munching calmly on a bush. After a couple of minutes he started walking down the road, away from us, so we gave him a good head start and slowly followed, as we were going in that direction. This continued for several minutes until a car appeared behind us. They seemed keen to see the elephant, so we let them pass us. They were sensible, not getting too close to the elephant, who was still ambling down the road.
After a few more minutes of our slow procession, my husband looked in the rear view mirror and saw a 2nd bull elephant behind us on the road, coming in our direction. So now there were 4 of us in the procession – in front was the 1st bull, next was the car that passed us, after that was our vehicle, and in the rear was the 2nd bull elephant. Unfortunately, the elephant behind us was moving faster than the 1 in front, so we were slowly being sandwiched together! This continued for a few minutes and as the road contained many blind corners, we kept wondering if we were going to come around and find ourselves between the legs of the 1st elephant, if he decided to stop for another snack. Luckily for us, he didn’t.
The people in the car in front wondered why we were catching them up, until they saw the bull behind us. This was when they started videoing our vehicle, and I started imagining becoming famous online, for all the wrong reasons!
After a few nervous minutes, the elephant behind us disappeared off the road. Then we came to a junction and the 1st elephant took the other turn. With our elephant sandwich now broken apart, we decided to stop and have an early lunch!
Until next time…