It was the first afternoon game drive for a family with children, and it seemed that the children’s main interest was to find … elephants! We set out looking for the giants, heading all the way up and down the mountain to the Sterkstroom valley. As we came down, the radio reported that a cheetah was spotted quite close to us, so we quickly made our way there. Unfortunately, we saw her walking through the bush for a few seconds only, after which she laid down in the tall grass and disappeared from sight.

But, a little later we did find our elephants, in fact one herd on each side of us. We spent some time watching the herd by the river, as the light was absolutely beautiful. Since they were blocking our way forward, we turned around, on our way to watch the other herd last spotted on the ridge, but who by now, had made their way down and onto this same road… It was a small herd I had encountered many times before, and each sighting of this particular herd had always been wonderful.

We moved off to give them way as they were heading towards us, making use of the last available road to stop close to them. One young male took particular interest in us and decided to investigate. He came from the side and proceeded to the back of the vehicle where the father and the two children were sitting. The young elephant very calmly inspected us and starting probing for scent with his trunk getting closer and closer, until he was touching the seats and the children could feel his hot breath on their faces! He then came back slowly to the other side and just stood there looking at us. As all of this was happening, we now also had the previous herd catching up to us from behind.

I slowly drove off to give way to the elephants and we moved on to enjoy sundowners slightly later than planned, but after having experienced an elephant encounter that none of us would ever forget!

General Manager – Fritz Breytenbach

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