Don't cross paths with an Elephant!

My family and I were on a safari in a private park just outside of Kruger National Park. We were in a group with the youngest being 6 years old and the oldest 77! We had found a spot a sunset to stop for our "sundowner" snack and drink. Everyone was enjoying the beautiful sunset except for our youngest member who was more preoccupied with the fact that there was no chocolate. So I went to my bag to get her some of my stash and as I turned around, I noticed a large elephant about 50 metres away.

I was so excited, and yelled out, "Oh my gosh! Come look at the elephant guys! He is so near! Wow!". As soon as the guides turned around and had a look, they frantically started packing up and yelled, "Get into the van right now, this is a very dangerous elephant!". We were shocked and whats even more surprising the most elderly members of our group, who had taken a good five minutes to climb up into the car before with help, were the first ones back into the car!

We all piled up into the open top vehicle and being pumped with adrenaline we began laughing about our elderly group members and the fact that I was excited about seeing the elephant and took pictures! We did not realise the elephant was getting closer and closer in all this time. The guides were trying their best to hush us, telling us that the elephant will get more aggravated if we made more noise. This made some of the other people in the car nervous, and one lady started yelling at the guides telling them to start the car and drive outta there! Their reasoning was that if they started the van the elephant would definitely charge and they just wanted the elephant to pass us.

In all this time the elephant had moved closer and closer, now only about 10 metres away. The elephant had started flaring its ears, by now my camera was on video mode, and throwing this trunk and head up and down in the air. According to the guides, this elephant was in musk, this means that he was an adolescent male who was looking for a partner to mate with. In musk, elephants become very aggressive and territorial, the behaviour this elephant was exhibiting was very territorial and aggressive.

Suddenly the elephant charged, heading straight to my side of the car (which was the last seat on the right hand side of the top row, and there was nothing behind me). The guides acted quick, turing the car on and hitting the gas in what felt like one movement. The elephant came pretty close but we managed to get out of the reach of its trunk. We all yelled out in fear and exhilaration of the whole event. We thought it was all over but the elephant was still chasing us! We kept driving at top speed and went around a corner, the elephant seemed to go behind a tree and I thought he had stopped chasing us so we stopped the car again.

All of a sudden we see the elephant again, coming around the tree at full speed. It chased us again! The elephant chased us for about a kilometre down the road and eventually we managed to evade it through some trees and bushes.

The whole experience was amazing, and I am always happy to share this funny and exciting story!

submitted by Dheavini Naicker