by John Sunday 28th June 2015
Up at 5 for 5.30 breakfast for a solo game drive with Hendrix in search of Fish Eagles. The search was somewhat foiled by the elephant incident.
Driving round a hairpin bend we were surprised to come face to face with an 8-year old tusker having a dust bath in the road.
Hendrix braked sharply and we came to a standstill, about ten metres away from the beast. After a somewhat nervous minute or two I asked Hendriix if it would be okay to take a photo.
I took two.
The minutes past. I looked around for a quick exit and I felt that Hendrix was doing the same. A quick reverse was impossible, ahead was the elephant blocking the road, the only possible exit route, to the left, was over a heavily rutted mound… Not good…
We waited. The elephant waited. Then the elephant moved one leg forward and placed it nonchalantly over the other leg. With his trunk he blew dust over his belly and then took another slight step forward.
I was already becoming pretty apprehensive at this stage, when Hendrix advised me to look at the glands at the side of the elephant’s head, which were secreting liquid. Other parts of his anatomy were becoming enlarged. Hendricks warned that if the glands in his head started secreting a greenish fluid it would mean his testosterone was soaring.
Further information followed. ‘Look at his trunk. It is beginning to rest on the ground. That means he is relaxing.’
The elephant made a further shuffle forward.
Was Hendrix waiting for me to take photos? Or waiting for an opportune moment to leave? I didn’t dare ask him.
Eventually the trunk was lowered even further and Hendrix slipped into gear. Moving slowly we slipped past the elephant on the very edge of the road, then Hendrix accelerated away fast.
The whole episode took place over 30-40 minutes. It took even longer before my heart beat started returning to normal.