On the road going from the Shingwedzi River to Punda Maria in the northern section of the Kruger National Park are literally thousands of elephants. Cross the bridge you hit flat country covered with Mopani shrub. A tributary runs parallel to the main road some two to three hundred meters to the left. Elephants make their way to and from this source of water early mornings and late afternoons.
Driving along this road you will encounter huge herds of elephants crossing the road at a leisurely pace in front of you. Be sure to look to the right, left and more important, keep an eye behind you. We got caught watching them crossing the road in front of us, keeping a respectful fifty-meter distance. Suddenly we had elephants all around. The adolescence elephants always start the nonsense: trumpeting, sniffing the air and shaking their heads. This always brings the bigger elephants to investigate what’s going on. That’s when we start to really get nervous. We’ve heard the same story from numerous people, who were caught up in the same situation.
I always find it best, as there is no escape, to close my eyes and dream of a tropical island or some such place (kind of like an ostrich, burying ones head in the sand). If I can’t see them, they can’t see me. Not the best approach, but so far, it seems to have worked. Other times I might say a little prayer, although I’m not a religious man. When all is quiet I open my eyes to see the elephants moving off in the bush. We now feel that is safe to start the car and to move cautiously on, further up in search of more friendly animals such as lion, leopard or anything else – but no more elephants, please!
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