Been here just under a month and have settled in nicely. I have started taking guests on safari game drives and every day brings something new and exciting. One recent experience definitely stands out. We headed out on the evening drive and made our way south from camp, thinking we would pick up on elephants as they prefer the thick vegetation in the south of the game reserve.
Not long into the drive we picked up fresh signs that the elephant had been around (fresh broken branches, tracks, dung etc.). We circled a block we thought they were in but it seemed they were not going to come out. Quinton decided to head in on foot to see if he could get a visual while I carried on circling the block. Not long after Quinton radioed in that he had spotted them and the ellies were moving east towards a main road. I circled the block one more time in a definite quicker lap time but still no sighting.
I collected Quinton and decided to circle one last time. We noticed that they had already crossed the two track so we backed up and headed towards a main road. They were definitely making us work for a sighting. As we travelled down the road fresh signs were clearly visible on the road and I had the feeling an encounter was around the corner. Low and behold a couple of corners later a big bull in must (heightened testosterone levels) was waiting for us in the road. By the high decibels behind me I know the guests were just as excited as me. I stopped the vehicle to see what he was going to do.
The bull approached to about 5 meters straight ahead with ears out trying to intimidate this foreign thing in front of him. He slowly moved off the road so I made my way forward only for him to come back into the road and do the same thing. Once again he moved off the road so I made my way past with some speed, but he was having none of it so he gave chase with a huge trumpet. Stopped the vehicle and he circled around us and stood atop a termite mound breaking bushes and digging his tusks into the ground, so I turned the vehicle to face him and revved the engine. All of this took place 5 to 10 meters away so my heart and the guests hearts were beating a “little” quicker than usual. He finally realized we were not going to be intimidated so he moved off into an open area and we could finally leave the sighting. I have to be honest that I checked the side mirrors more than once to make sure he was not following us back to camp. This was by far the best elephant sighting I’ve ever had and the first up close and personal experience I’ve had so far. All guests really enjoyed it and the experience would be a talking point for the next couple of days with loads of question asked. Encounters such as these are worth the entire safari holiday trip.
So for now that’s been a real highlight that sticks out and I am looking forward to many more!