African elephants are the world’s largest land mammals. The video shows that you need nerves of steel when meeting a giant elephant bull face to face.
With no tourists around at the moment, I decided to head out on a self-drive safari, exploring a remote wilderness part of the Kruger National Park. Going out in the wild is always an exciting experience as you never know what you will encounter around the next corner. Even though a safari can be filled with excitement and great sightings, one of the first and foremost things to keep in mind is that the animals you encounter on any African safari are wild, can be very dangerous and even lethal. These wild creatures demand the utmost respect at all times. As a safari guide that mostly lead groups of tourists that has never been in the African bush, it is our responsibility to always keep safety in mind and show respect for wild animals at all times. Different animals react in different ways and as a safari guide, you are trained on how to deal with various situations that involves dangerous animals. The one blanket rule in the African bush is to always keep a safe distance between you and the wild animals.
There are times when things can actually take an unexpected turn.
While I was driving around in the wild, I came across a large watering hole. In the distance I saw one lone bull elephant enjoying a drink of water before splashing himself with mud in order to cool himself down. I scanned the surroundings and didn’t see any other wildlife nearby. I decided to spend time watching the large bull elephant going about his daily business. Once the elephant bull was done at the water, he slowly started walking in the direction of my vehicle. Originally there was a safe distance between me and the male elephant but with him slowly walking towards me, that distance very quickly shrunk. It would have been suicidal to start the vehicle and make an attempt to get away while the male elephant was approaching. Any sudden behaviour or noise can possibly aggravate the bull elephant, which is something I definitely did not want to do. I had to fall back on my experience and did my best to remain calm and stay very still. This is easier said than done as your natural instinct tells you to get away immediately. The bull elephant ended up right in front of me, towering over my vehicle. It was extremely intimidating to have the bull elephant’s face right in front of me, while sniffing at me with his trunk. With over five tonnes standing right in front of me, not knowing what the animal’s next move will be, it became an absolute heart racing experience for me. The bull elephant then slowly moved to left front of the vehicle. On the front of the vehicle is a seat normally occupied by a scout that helps with spotting and tracking wild animals during a safari. Luckily on this day I was alone. The bull elephant then proceeded to use that seat as a rubbing post, slowly scratching off the mud still stuck on his trunk.
After scratching his trunk against the vehicle, it looked like he was moving away to my relief. The relief inside of me quickly disappeared when the massive elephant decided to turn around and have a go at the vehicle with his tusks. The elephant bull bumped the vehicle slightly with his tusks before giving the vehicle a slight lift. The bull elephant was clearly very curious to test his abilities against that of the safari vehicle. This elephant’s behaviour was totally unpredictable and I knew that he could very easily flip my vehicle over. With all of that going through my mind, I used a steady and firm tone of voice to mumble my disapproval of what he was about to do. Luckily my mumbling worked as the elephant stopped banging the vehicle with his tusks and finally pulled away. The elephant bull remained close to the vehicle for another few minutes before he eventually moved on, leaving me in peace. A huge sense of relief fell over me while my heart rate was still going through the roof.