Elephant Encounters

The Mexican Horse Thief-elephantMy closest near-fatal encounter with an elephant happened within spitting distance of the boma. I had taken a hiding spot behind a large succulent and was getting some excellent photographs of a herd of elephant. One rather large chap – fuck, they are all large – started moving straight towards my hiding place. I had left it too late: he had not yet seen or smelt me, but if he continued on his set path, he was going to step on me. No choice; while he was still a little way off I had to let him know I was there. I slowly stood up. Pandemonium! I took what I was convinced was my last photo – ever. Then he charged. I know that if you run, you die; two seasoned rangers had apparently proved it a few months back at the river between the Kruger and this park. Both ran, one for the savannah and one for the river. Surprisingly the one running for the river died. So all this shit is going through my brain, instinct is shouting, ‘Run!’ and frontal lobe is saying, ‘NO!’. I have also heard you should shout and wave your arms at times like this. Right! No spit in my mouth, perhaps I might have managed a croak. He stopped very, very close. More noise, loud … and backed off! My Guardian Angel is still getting danger pay. After a bit more of a show he slowly, with great dignity, walked away. I measured the distance he had stopped at: six of my little steps! That, I hoped, would set the record and be the last of my elephant close encounters. Fuck, this one was close up and personal. I made my way back to the kitchen, which was equipped with gas refrigerators, took out a liter bottle of iced tea and tried to pour some in a glass. Couldn’t. Shaking like a leaf in a high storm, mouth dry, tongue like a stick, I just fell into a chair and drank from the bottle. Did I feel like a vodka? A bottle, please. I stuck to the iced tea and relaxed in the boma for a while.  I survived the rest of the trip without incident and reluctantly returned to Johannesburg.


The Chronicles of the Mexican Horse Thief II – Renaissance


Nosce te ipsum

View the Mexican Horse Thief’s Page

Short Story




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2 Responses to “Elephant Encounters”

  1. Wayne Bisset Says:

    Reblogged this on Section Eight Solutions.

  2. African Elephant – Photos | One Man's Opinion Blog Says:

    […] Here are a few photos I have taken over the years. You can read a short story about one of my close encounters while getting some photographs here.  ELEPHANT STORY […]

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