We went into Kruger Park a couple of times as a self-drive tour in our rented Toyota Corolla. At the end of the last day we were headed to the gate to exit just in time for closing at 5:30 p.m.
A Gentle Giant out for a stroll along the road
He seems to be coming straight for us!
Life Lesson: Don’t Piss Off an Elephant
First off, we’ve seen a bunch of herds and lone elephants over the last four days. They’ve been either basking in the bushes by the side of the road or crossing the road on well trodden paths. It’s quite common.
Follow a few rules like don’t block the pathway. Don’t get to close. Drive slowly if you need to get out of the way.
So we saw this elephant and gave it plenty of distance. We were expecting it to cross the road and enter the bushes.
The elephant started coming toward us and we still expected it to enter the tree line. Just in case, we started to back up slowly. So far so good. The two cars directly behind us reversed as well.
Then a car came around the curve from the other direction. Too close. It spooked the elephant and his timely decision was to charge the car he could see. Us, if that’s not obvious?
Good thing that Colleen was comfortable backing up and was calm under pressure (spoiler – they drive on the other side of the road and the manual gear shift is opposite to what you would drive in North America). After several seconds of reversing as fast as she could, the elephant turned off and went into the woods to cool off and we were able to carry on.
Note from Colleen: It’s been a long time since I’ve been that scared. Scared I’d put the car in the wrong gear. Scared I’d stall. Scared I couldn’t reverse fast enough and we’d be rammed by an enraged elephant. I saw a few videos of elephants flipping or impaling cars. Many thoughts were going through my head during that charge. You know, like Holy Shit!