Tanzania Elephant Charge

Photo of Tanzania Elephant Charge 1/1 by Gail Adams

When building a Camp/Lodge in a National Park, you have to bring in the materials to build it.

On this particular day we had to go to the TANAPA Headquarters which happened to be outside of the National Park on the boundary. About 35 kilometres from the Camp.

We had a Land Cruiser 4 X 4 pickup truck to cart the odd thing or two and a Bedford Truck.

With Carl the driver, myself in the passenger seat and two Staff Cooks on the back, loaded with equipment, we decided to head back to Camp from Head Quarters.

In this particular park it gets very dry and there are a few watering holes around where the animals can drink the little bit of water to quench their thirst.

Driving merrily along we were not far from our Camp, the road being dusty and thick with river kind of sand made it a hard drive as the pickup was loaded.

Well, now the fun starts. This particular road passes right next to a watering hole. And guess what, there happily sipping away at the little bit of water they could get was a herd of Elephants.

As we approached the watering hole, an Elephant Bull decided he was not going to give us permission to pass.

So what does this mighty Bull Elephant decide to do????

Head tucked in trunk rolled up and here I come. You are not passing my watering hole.

I shouted to Carl with eyes as big as saucers; "You look back and reverse and I'll watch the Elephant and let you know how close he is getting to us." With that Carl shoved the gear into reverse and stuck his head out the window to see where he was going. Driving a vehicle backwards can be quiet fun or quiet scary.

At a quick glance I looked on the back of the pickup truck to see if the two Staff Cooks were okay. When I think back I really have to laugh. The one Cook was trying to climb into a tin trunk which we use to make delicious camp bread and the other Cook's eyes were bigger than mine.

Fortunately we managed to reverse back far enough in the thick sand and the Bull Elephant decided to give up.

We thought, we could circumvent the watering hole but ended back in the same place where we had tried to pass.

Fortunately, our Bedford Truck was on the other side of it and being as big as the Bull Elephant passed the watering hole without any ado. The truck stopped by our vehicle, which I hastily got out of and jumped up into the front passenger seat of the truck. Our two Staff Cook's jumped into the front seat of the Land Cruiser with Carl all this done in a matter of two minutes.

The idea, the Bedford Truck to go in front with Carl in the Land Cruiser behind as fast as we could go past the Bull Elephant.

In the biggest cloud of dust the truck launched off with Carl in tow and luckily we all made it.