Thanks again everyone for the comments, I'm really enjoying putting this TR together! And billyf, I will definitely try to remember to turn the car headlights on in future (I still blame lack of coffee...)
Also very pleased to hear I'm not the only who got lost in Tamboti
On with Day 3 and more ellie's messing with my head:
After sitting watching the elephant herd for a while, I decided to move on (cautiously - there were some pretty small ones in this herd). Once I was past the herd, the road dipped down and crossed a dry river bed, and there, right in the middle of the road, was a large elephant. So I stopped, wondering what to do, when she saw me, let out a loud trumpet, and started coming up the road pretty fast. There really must be something about the car that they just can't stand!
She was still quite some distance away, so I did the fastest 3-point turn of my life (really, really did not want to try reversing away from her on a dirt road up a hill), with a slightly (ok, very) panicked moment when the front tyre went onto the soft sand verge and decided to spin a little. I believe I may have been whimpering a little during the spin
Having managed to turn the car round, I took off back up the road (had to go past the rest of the herd, who were now agitated as well!), watching in the rear-view mirror with a fair amount of fear as she kept coming (possibly still some whimpering happening at this point), trying to stay under the speed limit and also trying to remember how fast elephants can move and for how long (no idea then, no idea now to be honest).
She didn't follow me very far, but I kept going 2kms back up the road just in case, and then stopped next to a herd of impala to calm down and have breakfast (glancing in the rearview mirror every few seconds, and hoping the impala would react as an early warning system in case she hadn't given up!).
So now I'm sitting there thinking I really don't want to go all the way back along the S39 as I was nearly at Timbavati and want to go on to Satara, so after sitting for 30 minutes with the impala, having a relaxing breakfast, I turned round again, hoping the elephant would have moved on.
Very cautiously, crawling along at such a slow speed, I headed back. Nope, they were all still there. Only now the big one had joined the rest of the herd (I'm guessing she was the matriarch and got cross when it looked like I was between her and the herd - although maybe she
might want to stay closer to them herself
if she's going to get so cross about things like that!
To mess with my head further, the entire herd was now on one side of the road, but there was one young ellie, and another small-ish one, alone on the other side. So she's now basically taunting me, saying "go on, I dare you, make my day". So now I cannot drive on.
She's back with the herd:
And here's the little one, alone on the other side of the road:
For an hour, they stayed like that, and I stayed well back just watching them (once again grateful for the zoom lens!). No other cars turned up, and it was actually pretty relaxing now that the matriarch seemed to have calmed down. Had a bar-one and coffee (still on that health kick
), turned the car off (but left the key in the ignition, just in case
) and just sat and enjoyed. Then finally, the little one scuttled across the road to join the rest,
the herd moved off (although she seemed to keep turning round to check where I was),
and, after waiting another 5 minutes just in case she wasn't through toying with me for the day, I headed on to Timbavati.