The Day I Got Charged by an Elephant
The Day I Got Charged by an Elephant
As many of you know, last November I was lucky enough to land a photo assignment in Africa which included the safari experience of a lifetime! We spent the better part of a week in Tanzania observing and photographing animals in the wild. The one animal we saw every day was the elephant. Herds of elephants! It was wildlife photographer paradise!
At first, I was amazed by how casually they seemed to walk right past our safari vehicles without a care in the world.
Many of them were tinged with the reddish orange color of the soil.
Tarangire National Park's lush green landscape and beautiful Baobab trees made the perfect setting to photograph all the wildlife. Those babies... SO CUTE!
We were even lucky enough to stumble upon a playful group of adolescent elle's splashing about in a watering hole. Quite entertaining!
The last to get out, this little guy had a full on temper tantrum complete with trumpeting when the adults told him, "Time to go!".
By the end of our safari, we all fell in love with the elephants!
The Moment my Heart Stopped!
My travel buddy and I were running a bit late to catch our flight out of Tanzania, so our guide Victor offered to drive us to the airport in his own personal car.
But before we could get out of the park, we hit a BIG roadblock... an elephant! She was happily snacking on a bush while standing in the middle of the road.
The video you're about to see pretty much says it all. In the beginning, it was funny. Victor was talking to the driver of the safari vehicle right next to us about what we should do. At one point you can hear him say, "Twende" which means "Let's Go" in swahili.
But the driver was too afraid to pass, so we all just parked.
And waited for this elephant to move off the road. Time was ticking away!
Finally, Victor decided we needed to try something else to get this elle out of our way. Elephants have very poor eyesight, but they can hear from 2.5 miles away! So began the clapping.
What happened next was one of the most heart-stopping moments of my life.
Here's the video I managed to shoot with my phone... go Full Screen, Sound ON!
I can't even explain how HUGE this elephant looked as she came at us in our little Toyota. It's times like these when having an expert guide like Victor is invaluable! I'm sure he knew all along it was most likely a fake charge (right Victor?), and thankfully the elephant never actually hit us.
But damn, she came close!
And then she went right back to enjoying her bush (and blocking the road), giving us a few side eyes before finally crossing the road.
So then What Happened?
What you don't see is when the other vehicle's driver decided to "go for it", and drive around us and the elephant. All I saw was the back end of this enormous beast chasing down the safari vehicle at a speed I could have never imagined. I think I was so freaked out by being charged, I didn't have the presence of mind to keep recording!
You Cannot Put a Price on Experience
Needless to say, I have a whole new respect for the "wild" in the word "wildlife"! And how important it is to do your research when booking a safari like this. There are a LOT of safari companies out there with less experienced guides who do not have the same level of knowledge about animal behavior as Victor and his team at TopGuides Bush Camps and TopGuides Safaris have. I completely trusted them to keep everyone safe while getting us close enough to capture amazing photographs.
When are you Going Back to Africa, Cheryl?
Well.... before worldwide travel came to a screeching halt, I was offered the opportunity to take my own group of travelers on an African safari with Victor and his team! I had just started the process of putting together the trip of a lifetime for a small select group - a truly custom boutique travel experience. I honestly can't think of anything more enjoyable than sharing the incredible experience of being together on safari! Those of you who have already done it know exactly what I'm talking about. Africa is just one of those places that calls you back again and again!
With some patience, we will all get back to traveling to our dream destinations once again. And I will definitely be back to Africa, sharing the experience with some of you!
What's on Your Bucket List?
NOW is actually a great time to revisit your own "bucket list" of travel destinations! My list is a long one, but my #1 dream trip is Gorilla Trekking in Uganda! (I know, I'm a little crazy.)
Tell me what's on your list in the Comments!
Below is a list of questions to help you start planning your next dream vacation.
Until we can travel again, please stay healthy and safe!
Questions to Think about when Planning your Next Travel Experience:
What time of year can you travel and for how long?
Will you travel with kids or adults only? What ages?
Do you want a high-end, mid-range, or low-budget experience?
What level of activity are you comfortable with?
What destinations intrigue you?
What are your interests?
Keywords: cheryl bigman photography, elephant, elephant charge, Real Life - Personal Stories, safari, tanzania safari, tanzania travel, tarangire national park, travel photography, wildlife photography, wildlife video
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