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What to do around Elephants

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Albert
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Unread post by Albert » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:49 am

Over the past few years we have found the northern elles to be particularly ornery. We have a healthy respect for these beasts, and tend to give them a wide berth...have had a number of memorable experiences, not least of which was finding ourselves in double line of cars stacked behind a large and irritated bull strolling towards Satara, just minutes before gate closing time. The elephant suddenly turned round, it was amazing to see this double line of cars suddenly imitate a "fish skeleton" by reversing diagonally off the road!
One of my ex post-graduate students was originally from a rural village right next to the northern part of Kruger, and they frequently had to chase elles out of the vegetable crops. He told me that when the elephant flaps the ears and stomps around before a charge, it is normally a mock charge. It's when the ears flatten and the head lowers slightly that you are in trouble. He also maintains that a huge amount of noise will make the elephants move away or back off...so if you are backed into a corner, maybe shouting, banging on the roof of the car and using the hooter will make the elephant decide to go elsewhere...note that I say maybe! :lol: Anybody willing to try this and seeing if it works?
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Senyetse
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Unread post by Senyetse » Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:10 am

I worked as a jeep jockey in Pilanesberg for a year in 1996. That place had some very aggressive elephants. In that year I learnt that you have to give them their space and approach them slowly and give musth bulls a wide berth :lol: . We were at Shingwedzi last week and there were hundreds of elephants along the river. A big mistake most people made was to get too close or to speed passed the elephants scaring them and making things more unpleasant for the cars still to pass. Approach slowly and see if the animal is relaxed. If so then there should be no problem. If there are small calves around wait for them and the cows to pass over the road and leave the road clear. With musth bulls the best thing is to keep your distance and wait for them to leave the road. Once the animal is a few meters into the bush you should be able to pass slowly. Do not speed passed as the animal will be startled and possibly charge you or other vehicles.

Flapping of the ears, holding the head high, swaying side to side on the feet, trumpeting, ripping out plants and throwing them down are all signs of an angry elephant.
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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:29 pm

Something I have done over the years.

When approaching a herd of relaxed elephants, I have not prolonged the stay. Most cows with youngsters are quite happy for one to get within a reasonable distance. When mum starts flapping her ears is the time to move on. I am sure they just want to be left in peace, and for tourists not to overdo it. Then they might have to 'encourage' you to move on.

I believe strongly that we should ALL be considerate to elephants. If you get her annoyed she might well take it out on the next car.
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Elefant encounters with caravan

Unread post by harrystr » Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:51 pm

Any advice how to behave with a caravan when meeting some aggressive elefants? Turning round on the road or moving back is somewhat difficult.
Best regards, Harry

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Unread post by bucky » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:54 pm

Not an easy 1 , I try avoid them first off and tend to try and stick to the roads that dont follow rivers etc when towing .

If I see any elephants up ahead , I will normally stop further back so as to not get in there way .

The other thing to try is to pull right over to the verge of the road if you do come up to them suddenly , so that it gives you enough space to do a u turn if neccessary .

If you cant move back or get the caravan in a twist while reversing from a stroppy ellie , switch of , close the windows and act innocent .
They will likely walk past you if you are no longer any fun .

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Unread post by Elsa » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:56 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:If any of that doesn't work repeat after me. 'Our Father......


or at least take a pic of the perpetrator so you can show your insurance co. who did it. :shock: 8) :lol:

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:59 am

Seriously Harry,

Only tow your caravan when you have to go from point to point. Do all your side roads and waterholes on other drives.
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Unread post by Jan Kriel » Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:13 pm

Harry,

Try to avoid dense bush as far as possible where your field of view is limited by vegetation (e.g. Mopanie veld): Elephants can be very placid animals but of they are in a bad mood they can be difficult customers. Make sure you don't end up in a breeding herd with youngsters then keep your distance. If you do end up in a situation where it feels there is now way out, which there always is a way out, just don't panic for then mistakes and dangerous situations start.

Keep your cool and just try and read the behaviour of the animal, they will normally give you a warning charge to make you go away but if you stand your ground you might just intimidate the animal and he / she will loose interest BUT and it is a very big BUT each situation is different and they are just as unpredictable as any other specie. So if you see ellies stop a distance observe the behaviour and then proceed from there or just have the patience and wait for them to do what ellies do and when they are gone then proceed.
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Unread post by inyoka » Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:42 pm

I'm so pleased to hear that I'm not the only person who is absolutely terrified of elephants!! I was charged by an elephant in Kruger many years ago and have since been a nervous wreck whenever I visit the park. The worst times are going down narrow dirt roads, especially if they're dead ends, as I'm always petrified that we'll get trapped by elephants. And what really irritates me is when there are a number of cars which block the road so that you don't have an escape route. Then I really panic! It's such a shame I've become so paranoid, as it always ruins the trip slightly. I really love staying up north too, Shingwedzi is my favourite camp, so it means lots of contact with lots of elephants. However, I'm really, really looking forward to my next trip to the park in November, despite the ellies!!

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:41 pm

There is nothing quite like being in an ele incident yourself, to rid you of all bravado and 'I'm not scared of elephants' rubbish. I have had at least a dozen close encounters that have got my focused undivided attention, but thankfully escaped unscathed, not like on a recent walk in a North West game reserve, where the guide became an ele soccer ball to save a woman pax.

Eephants are not to be trifled with, and some poepols (dimwits) tease them and drive off, leaving subsequent visitors to feel their wrath.
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Perks.
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Unread post by Perks. » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:21 am

+1. Much respect to hellafunt in general, and particularly when towing.

My advice if you've run into snot, is the switch-off-and-wait-it-out plan. Obviously it's way better if you can avoid trouble by stopping well short / clear of the animal(s), but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

One of my memorable Kruger moments was having to switch off and wait out a huge herd of buff crossing the CB-LS road to the river. Buff all around us, nothing we could do, switched off the engine, and enjoyed. And strangely, nervous as we were to begin with, once the herd realised we weren't a threat, and weren't going anywhere, they were quite relaxed as they milled around the car and trailer.
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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:13 pm

If you come across a herd of relaxed buffs milling around, you can push very slowly through them and they will open up for you and let you pass. Don't try it with eles.
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DanielC

Unread post by DanielC » Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:30 pm

Talking about trying to get passed an elephant, I remember once taking a slow pace back to camp when suddenly round the next corner a huge bull elephant decided it would be fun to walk directly in front of us down the road. We had no option but to slowly follow him which I am sure he thought was very funny. In any case we arrived about 10-15 minutes late but did not get into too much trouble when explaining the circumstances to the rangers and showing proof on the camera.(with the time stamp, luckily)

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Bush Baptist
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Unread post by Bush Baptist » Mon Oct 01, 2007 12:49 pm

After many run-ins with Kruger eles, it is quite uncanny the way that Addo eles will walk right past your car without and reaction. It happens regularly, and even with babies in tow.
Last edited by Bush Baptist on Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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