Elephant Charge

One of the most unwelcome encounters during a walking safari, is an Elephant charge. Weighing over four thousand kilograms and capable of moving at 11 metres per second, a Matriarch on the charge is a very impressive sight. And a very scary sight too!

While walking from Kaingo Camp to Mwamba Bushcamp, Andrew Mweetwa and his guests had stopped beside a favourite lagoon for drinks. Guests of Shenton Safaris will often make the 6 kilometre trek between camps when transferring from one to the other. Because walking with one of Shenton Safaris’ experienced guides is not merely a walk, but an educational adventure that one is not able to experience while lounging on the back of a game viewer.

But no sooner had they settled down with cool drinks in their hands, when an ear-splitting squeal shattered the stillness and an adult Elephant female rushed into view, filling the camera lenses too quickly for proper focusing, as she stampeded towards the small group.IMG_3279

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“Stand still! It’s a warning charge,” Andrew managed to get out, before she came to a dust-clouded stop, with both front feet on a fallen Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane).

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She held her head-up stance at full alert for a whole minute,

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her widespread ears exaggerating her size, unnecessarily in Andrew’s opinion.

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Then she angrily scooped up some dust and tossed it over herself, just as the reason for her aggressive behaviour appeared.

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The young calf and other Elephants approached warily, their stiffened tails showing their states of stress, as fluids began to flow thickly from their temporal glands.

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Her protective duties fulfilled, the Matriarch rumbled a communication and the herd turned as one to saunter away, their stiffened tails showing that they were still a little unsure of the presence of humans in their forest.

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A story for Shenton Safaris by Andrew Mweetwa.

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