Couple keeping their cool during close encounter with dangerous bull elephant
Facing the largest land mammal on this planet, rushing towards you, is a nerve wrecking experience. My wife and I were alone on safari, admiring a small herd of elephants next to the road. Suddenly, there was this enormous bull elephant approaching us. He did not look like he was on a Sunday afternoon stroll. This guy looked determined and on a mission.
Our hearts were racing while the elephant rushed towards us. There was a big branch hanging from his mouth and he looked pretty scary. We had no choice but to remain calm. He then moved a little off the road and bashed through a small tree next to the vehicle. He was showing us that he meant business. Suddenly he just froze, showing no emotion and not giving away any signals on what his next move might be. This was probably the most terrifying moment, sitting dead quiet and waiting on his next move. This bull elephant then pretended to be moving along and leaving us alone, but then approached us from behind for yet another anxious moment. Standing right behind the vehicle, he slowly peeked over the back. Simultaneously, he slightly bumped the back of the vehicle with his tusks. We managed to keep quiet through this whole experience but this was when we both raised our voices. From previous experience, we’ve learned that he would have carried on and become more violent if we did not say something. Immediately he stepped back, shook his head and left us alone.
It turned out that this bull elephant was in a state called musth. When older male elephants are ready to mate, they go into a musth period with heightened testosterone levels. These males are extremely temperamental and dangerous at the same time. They chase, intimidate and sometimes even kill anything that does not look like a female elephant. We managed to keep our cool but at the same time were very lucky to get away without a serious incident.