What to do around Elephants

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DuQues
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Re: Correct behavior around Elephants

Unread post by DuQues »

That pdf can be found here but lacks my tip about the photography. ;)
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Re: Correct behavior around Elephants

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Stay a good distance from a breeding herd
Don't drive between a mother and her calf
Stay clear of bulls that are in musth
If an elephant is charging with ears flapping and trunk in the air, it is trying to intimidate you. But ears folded against the body and trunk between the fore legs, get the hell out of there or say your last prayer.
But, having said that, your chances of being seriously stormed by an ellie is one in a couple of million. (Based on the amount of visitors per year and the reported serious incidents)
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Re: Correct behavior around Elephants

Unread post by NickyG »

Ive had the unnerving experience of being charged 4 times in addo by elephants.

1 x by a juvenile, as big as my car, the rest by varying sizes of bulls.
Elephants a breeding herd just alighted from the bush, a matriachal herd, and obviously mom wasn't happy, and son took exception too, and went off his trolley a bit, and mock charged, trumpeting all the way to within 6m of my car (which was switched off)....the mum, Im sure made a rumble, as if to call the juvenile, as he turned tail, and caught up....and trotted up the dirt road.

In all cases, I can assure yu it was not provoked! Ive been parked in by visitors, with no space to turn, while a huge bull (in musth - urinating, and temp gland streaming) passed by my car, so close, the mud dripped off onto my windsheild. He took no real notice of me, and walked on by. I think I swollowed my heart 3 x that day.

My failsafe course of action is - beleive it or not, to light a cigarette. And leave a window down half way, they get a wiff of it, and give you a berth.

What ever you do, keep calm, and dont lose Ur nerve, give the elephant the respect it deserves in its domain, after all it is the worlds largest mammal. All other advice above is true and sound too.
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Re: Sticky Situation

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Literally sticky? With lions several times. On the one occasion another vehicle came and picked us up, we could just clamber straight over. On another everybody had to get off and walk some distance away so that the driver could gun the lightened vehicle out of the mud. The lions found it all very interesting, and would no doubt have been amused had they possessed a sense of humor. Neither these or other sticky lion encounters occurred in Kruger.

With elephants? The trickiest one was where I had to get an elephant off the road, as turning around and going back was not an option. The road was on a thickly vegetated hillside, narrow and full of bends. I ended up finding a spot where I could turn the vehicle around, and then reversed towards the elephant as fast as I could, honking the horn loudly. The idea was that I could drive away forwards at speed should he come for me. It worked, the elephant crashed down the hill, and thus even opened up a spot where I could turn the car around again.

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Elephant encounter

Unread post by Gilhuus »

In late June, I had an encounter with an elephant up between Olifants and Letaba that I have been thinking about quite a bit since. I'll just post here an excerpt from my blog, where I wrote about it a few days ago; I am anxious to hear if other people have had similar experiences and whether perhaps I misread the whole situation and was seconds away from getting trampled... (https://ghostofgoldwater.blogspot.com/2 ... s-are.html)

"I had gone a little while when I spotted a herd of ellies on both sides of the road. I slowed down to a crawl, then stopped completely and turned off the engine as a medium-sized cow began crossing. And then the funniest thing happened. Halfway over, she turned around and stared at me. As I felt the hairs on my arm starting to rise, she began to come closer… and closer… and closer. At the end she was stood against my bumper, while her trunk was exploring the hood and my tires. As I had my windows open, I was afraid she might wreak havoc inside the cabin. Also, in my head was playing a continuous loop of a video I had seen on YouTube, where a small, white car (much like the one I was driving) is trashed by an angry elephant.

Fortunately, she seemed to be in a good mood. Car sufficiently checked out, she turned away and went into the ditch on the other side of the road. I almost got a heart attack when a smaller ellie walked onto the road right after and began taking an interest. Blissfully, she just checked me out from a distance, then she too went out on the other side. I was left with one of my greatest wildlife experiences, a profound sense of the might and gentleness of these animals and probably some slightly soiled underwear."
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Karin Mitton
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Re: Elephant encounter

Unread post by Karin Mitton »

She was obviously in. Good mood, and as a result you had an incredible encounter.
I got up close and personal with relaxed ellies in Addo once and I will cherish the memories for ever.
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Re: Elephant encounter

Unread post by balengo »

Great experience!

...but is there a way to understand elephant mood? Is there a driving code for elephant encounters?

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Re: Elephant encounter

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The general concensus is to try and keep some distance between yourself and the elephant if possible but of course it does happen from time to time that this is not possible due to various circumstances and it has happened to us twice before.
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Re: Elephant encounter

Unread post by tetrol88 »

2017 H4-1 - Elephants appeared out of the trees only 100m ahead, so I pulled up to wait, then noticed more appearing behind me. Turned off and about 30 seconds later we found ourselves in the midst of a large herd, some within 2m. Fortunately, all were very calm, no ear flapping/posturing or trumpeting. Classic line said by one of the back seat passengers, caught on an iphone video - "I can wind my window up"
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Re: Elephant encounter

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

Hello Gilhuus,

nice blog 8)

This kind of encounter does happen. Not quite as close though... :wink:

If an elephant moves into your space, there is usually not a problem. I have only really had problems when I have arrived after tourists have intruded on an elephant's space, especially if there are little ones.

Elephants seem to have a lot of curiosity.
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Re: Elephant encounter

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

I have had similar encounters and although it can be very scary at the time. It has re-enforced my view that elephants are, by nature, peaceful creatures. Our behavior has usually been the problem..
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‘Edgy’ elephants in the North

Unread post by susanenslin »

Hi, I’m new to the forum but a regular visitor to the Kruger. My home away from home.

We love to visit the Northern part of the park and always do self drive and mostly the gravel roads as far as possible. Going to the Kruger in beginning of March :dance: , starting our journey at Sirheni and working our way down to Pretoriuskop.
On our last trip in the Northern part(Mopani and beyond) we found that the elephants - even the loners - were on edge. Attempted to do the Mpongolo loop and Red rocks but lone elephants were very on edge(trumpeting and turning around as if to charge at the cars passing by), a few other cars also turned around and returned to the tar road because of the elephants behavior. Thus the reason that we didn’t do any of the gravel roads in the North because being apprehensive about the elephants.
Would love to do more of the gravel roads in the North in March so any advise /tips on how to approach this situation will be appreciated.
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Re: ‘Edgy’ elephants in the North

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I think the thing to remember and to take into context is the number of visitors compared to the number of incidents one hears about and you can see its very little but of course one needs to take the necessary precautions. :thumbs_up:
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Re: ‘Edgy’ elephants in the North

Unread post by Expat_Kiwi »

Hi Susan.
another website that I have found very useful in reading elephant behaviour is the ElephantVoices site. They have a large database of various behaviours as well as photos showing the actual behaviour. You might find it interesting. This page give background information - https://www.elephantvoices.org/multimed ... round.html .

The link to the behaviours and photos is at https://www.elephantvoices.org/multimed ... -structure

I'm not suggesting you disregard common sense and available advice, but sometimes you get caught between a rock and a hard place (I know I have a couple of times) and this information might help.

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Re: ‘Edgy’ elephants in the North

Unread post by Grantmissy »

Welcome to the forum Susanenslin. May you have a wonderful visit to the Kruger National Park or your home away from home in March :D From experience we have also noticed the "Edgy elephants in the North" :? but we try to take extra care when elephants are in the vicinity as we are in their space.

Great advice from Elsa and Expat_Kiwi :thumbs_up:
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