Monday, March 19, 2007

Kruger Game Reserve, March 14th

On our last leg from Joburg to Kruger, we heard on the radio that a ranger had been attacked by a herd of elephants. The car was thrown around and the ranger was in hospital, but not killed at least. Driving inside the park we saw plenty of elephants ourselves. They were really close too… but no worries. Late in the day however, as we were driving back to camp for the day, we saw a lone bull elephant on the main road. Like normal we stopped in safe distance to watch it for a while. From the other side came another car, and it stopped a bit closer than we did. Suddenly the elephant went running in full speed towards that car and flapping the ears and swinging the trunk around. The car stood still, and the elephant stopped a couple of metres away from the car. I guess it was a bit grumpy and wanted to pass across the message to “leave me alone” or something like that. The elephant then went into the bush and disappeared, so the car left… and we also started driving to pass the scene.

About 50-100 metres ahead as we had just passed the place where the elephant was standing… there it was again, right on the side of our car. Now it was walking along the road just in front of us. We gave it a few metres and followed slowly in what we thought was a safe distant. Then suddenly it turned… swung the head and the trunk in our direction and came running full speed towards us and flapping the ears to make it look even bigger. I was filming with the video camera whilst Øyvind were taking pictures… but now Øyvind was shouting: “back up, back up…”! It was an endless process of fumbling and getting the car into reverse… and finally back up. The videocamera was filming in all directions now. We could both feel the pulse in the temple of the head and the adrenalin was literally pumping out of the pores in our skin. The elephant stopped, just like with the other car and went into the bush again. We left the place quickly now, quite happy to avoid physical contact. I think Øyvind also got a lasting memory from the experience.

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