When John Met an Elephant

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.

Published by

Marion Fuller-Sessions

Retired and downsized, and sadly now widowed, but keeping in touch with family and friends and friends far and wide via my blog

6 thoughts on “When John Met an Elephant”

  1. John and Marion, enjoyed reading this flurry of posts so much – what a tremendous trip and do wish we could see photos too! Marion this must all be reawakening so many memories for you. Interested to see that you went with Audley – we used them when we went to “pre-glasnost” Cuba and they were absolutely brilliant, hope you have had the same experience. I am sending link about John’s elephant experience to Millie who is just embarking on 3 week trip volunteering in an elephant orphanage in Thailand – could be some useful tips there…. looking forward to the next instalments from you lots of lo ve Bev xxxx

    1. Dear Bev
      Lovely to hear from you. Sorry about the lack of photos, we’ll make up for it when we get home, all being well. How interesting about Millie. We went to an elephant orphanage at Lilayi, just outside Lusaka, where we had such an interesting talk from the official there.
      We have been delighted with Audley. Cannot fault them! It has given us a taste for carefree luxury travel though, which we will be reluctant to break!
      Very much love to you all, and good luck to Millie. We look forward to hearing how she gets on.

  2. So your elephant incident did remind me of our Trooper Jackson incident in North Carolina…John asking if it was ok to take his photo. I of course said no as I’m sure the trooper was staring to secret green fluid!
    Have a great trip and regards to John.

    1. John says he was even more scared of trooper Jackson, and is quite convinced he was almost certainly secreting green fluid. Good thing we escaped on time even though you had to pay a fine. You have to look behind the elephant’s ears – you’d better warn Millie.best greetings to you all!

  3. Hello Marion and John
    We’ve arrived in Bellac for a lovely long summer break and it’s been fascinating to catch up on your most recent adventures – you should be dining out on them for a long time to come! I shall look forward to seeing the photographic evidence, although not, perhaps, a selfie of John during the elephant encounter, which sound terrifying. I’m so glad your trip has been so successful so far and hope it continues in the same way.
    Best wishes

    1. Marilyn, hi, thinking of you and Alan in Bellac enjoying the French sunshine, food and wine! Sorry about the lack of photos, but I did eventually manage to insert an image of John’s elephant into the original post. Hopefully when we get back we’ll be able to show many more photos. John has taken well over 1000!!

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