It’s often said that seeing the big five in Africa is an exhilarating experience, but for one Norwegian backpacker, her up close and personal experience with a friendly pachyderm was a bit too close for comfort.
On a South African safari, an elephant came with inches of Kristin Ruud’s open-topped vehicle when she parked on a hill within a reserve in Port Elizabeth.
Kristen, who was on holiday with her mother, said she had no choice but to fear he might a.t.tack them when the calf approached within arm’s reach at sunset.
“We heard the elephant in the bushes and tried to follow them, but we couldn’t see it because of the trees.” – Kristen, from Oslo.
“We were about to call it a day when he showed up right in front of us unexpectedly swiftly.”
“Our ranger approached our vehicle to prevent him from being disturbed as he made his walk around in complete silence.”
“You don’t realize how enormous they are until you see them up close. I was worried that he would at.tac.k. At one point, I thought: ‘what if he at.t.acks?'”
The encounter was captured inside the Kariega Game Reserve in April but posted to social media this week.
Elephant numbers are increasing In South Africa, resulting in more frequent human encounters.
And Kristin said the once-in-a-lifetime moment was the icing on the cake of a memorable trip.
“My mother jumped right into my lap, because she was sitting next to me, and closer to the elephant.
“We made some contact with the elephants in the reserve, but nothing like this.
I now have greater respect for these animals, which are beautiful, powerful, and gentle.
“This was one of the greatest holidays of my life, and this is without a doubt the highlight.”