This shot was taken straight from our terrace at Rattray's camp in Mala Mala! It was a hot day and a big herd of elephants cooled themselves in the Sand River that runs past the camp. Can you imagine having a room with a view like this?
Must share another shory: In the morning we went out on game drive. Just outside Rattray's gates, a herd of elephants was happily roaming around. We parked the car and pretty soon 2 huge males with gigantic tusks approached... And approached a bit more.. and more.. Must admit that I was so excited snapping away that I didn't realize how close they actually were!
All of a sudden one of the giant bulls turned around and his trunk was actually IN the car. And remember, this is a totally open vehicle we're talking about! No roof and no sides. When I looked back I saw Hans making himself as small as possible and backed up in the corner of the car, while the elephant sniffed him up a bit. Behind him, Tracker Phillemon did the opposite: he threw his arms in the air and made a lot of noise.. which made Jumbo retreat.
Normally, at home as well as on safari, Hans is the unchallenged macho and I just knew that after this, he felt just a little.. well.. embarassed I guess.
He asked the ranger what would happen when you would walk up to the fence when there's a herd of elephants on the other side.. Answer: they'll probably take off but, as they know perfectly well how they can take down the fence with their tusks without feeling the current (they had done that on several occasions), there's also a fair chance they will charge you !
That afternoon I went on gamedrive and Hans stayed at the khaya 'working'... (suuuuure..)
All of a sudden he heard trumpeting and went outside. A big herd of elephants was just outside the khaya looking straight at him.. And after the morning's recognition of who was the hero, he just had to prove something to himself. But let's face it; a herd of elephants forms rather a risky opponant, even for a testosteron topped human male, and he was hesitating...
Then, 2 cleaning ladies walked up the path in that gorgeous African way; chatting away, carrying their stuff on their heads, with hip movements we Europeans can only dream off.
Untill... they saw the elephants. One of the ladies froze on the spot but the other just approached the fence, cheerfully shouting. Almost the whole herd took off, trunks held high and trumpeting.... And the ladies walked on peacefully. Only one bull remained..
Our brave hunter-gatherer (Hans) just couldn't let this pass. What one woman could.. he could do for sure!!
Nervous.. adrenaline flowing... he walked up to the fence where the giant Elephant bull was eying him. Gently, step by step, closer.
When he had almost reached the fence, they were eye to eye.. And the Neanderthal took over: screaming, slapping his hands on his but and jumping up and down he showed the elephant who was the ' real' giant over there!!! Jumbo threw his trunk in the air, gave an eardrum-tearing trumpet and ran off....
I wasn't there, but I can just féél how Hans, with his manhood restated, walked back to the khaya.... And I'm sure you can too!! :-)
ps. The fact that he gave permission to share this story with you, shows what a wonderful man he is....
Have a wonderful weekend!!