Still get a massive adrenalin rush when I drive around a corner, or crest a hill, to find funt (or rhino or buff) in the road, or just next to.
As a rule, 40 metres is the closest I'll, get and even then, should one of the herd make eye contact, I'll reverse a bit, to show no intention of being a threat.
In my trip report I described the large (40+) breeding herd we encountered at Nhlanganini, and the JJ who told us later that this was quite a sociable herd, and were comfortable with vehicles in close proximity. Well, I still took no chances!
Recall two mad ellie encounters...
1. Duke on the CB-LS road, May 97. I swear he was just having fun with all these cars reversing and ducking down the side road. There were no big ear flapping or trunk-raising overtures, and eventually he just sauntered off into the veld. THAT was nerve-wracking.
2. Towing caravan from LS to Satara, via Tshokwane, early 80s. Around a corner we find a veritable parking lot of cars, and an angry herd. Most of the cars ducked behind us and took off. We reversed as best we could before we started twisting the van. And then we just stopped. My dad could do nothing, my mom was very anxious, and the angry funto was doing the complete mock charge routine with flappy ears and stomping, and trumpeting. But it was a total stalemate, we could nowhere, he was going nowhere, so we just waited. I think having the caravan behind us made us look bigger than the average car, which was why he never actually made the charge. I k***ed myself that day, and have paid ellies and 'saurus lots of respect ever since.
And one WEIRD buffalo experience, September 97, overnighting in LS, en route to hockey tournament in Nelspruit. Also on the CB-LS road, a large herd (200+) of buff going west-east to drink at the river. One minute we were driving along, through very thick riverine scrub, the next a buff stepped on the road ahead of us, we stopped, and the next second, we were surrounded by tons of prime beef. Just switched off the car, and watched. We had the trailer, and not even one buffalo so much as brushed either car or Venter. A guy in an Isuzu DC couldn't be bothered to wait for the crossing to be finished, and edged into the herd. The mass of animals being pressed from all sides had nowhere to go, and said vehicle was bumped and scratched a bit for the driver's troubles. It was a surreal and thoroughly enjoyable experience, and changed my outlook of buffalo as these permanently enraged beasts who would just love to turn humans into Swiss cheese.
Last trip: Satara 1/10/11, Letaba 2-5/10/11