African Elephant on the Charge!

by Naomi on August 19, 2010

in Wildlife

Several things happen simultaneously:

– an Elephant trumpets
– men yell
– tyres spin
– dust flies
Plovers shriek
Impalas scatter
Hippo’s submerge
– my throat constricts
– the video camera tumbles into my lap

. . . and Dave calmly fires off a sensational sequence, hand-held from our roof rack:

I don’t know how my husband does it, but there you go πŸ™‚

He shot this near the Khwai River Lodge, just North of Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. No, we weren’t doing the five star thing, rather the real bush deal, camping at the Khwai Development Trust site just up the drag. Thereby hang a whole lot more tales, but we’ll save them for another day.

Our friends in the Prado had inadvertently come between the elephant and the water. Never a good idea. They got off fine, albeit shaken and stirred!

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Johan August 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

Hi Naomi,

This ex-guide would like to give his comment if permitted.
It looks as if the bull did already have his share of water, as can be seen from the darker spots on his body and trunk. If you look at his right hind-leg (first image) , you can see that it is wet all the way up. I therefore assume that this bull was in ‘must’ and was therefore more unpredictable as normal.
Khwai is an area that is often too busy, not only because of tourists, but also because of the people living in the area. No wonder that we sometimes go on the nerves of the original inhabitants of the wild.


Naomi August 19, 2010 at 10:24 am

That makes sense, Johan. Thank you for sharing this insight πŸ™‚ Couldn’t agree more about getting on their nerves. We’ve noticed a big difference at Khwai in or out of school holidays. Never again, during.


cindy August 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

Yikes, I get goosebumps!
Well done Dave!


Naomi August 19, 2010 at 10:25 am

Thx, Cin, will pass that on πŸ™‚


Anonymous August 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

Hi Naoms. Such great shots! Having experienced a charging Matriach anxious to protect her young calf in Mabula (they were walking towards our house), I know fast they move, without warning and how scary it is! We were stadning just outside the kitchen door watching the herd move past, when suddenly she charged and rammed herself into the open door – which we managed to rush through in time. Our video shot is evidence of our hasty exit (actually entrance) – rapid blurred movement and lots of profanities!


Naomi August 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

HECTIC, Lori!! I’m guessing this is you, talking about Mabula? Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’d love to see that video footage, upside down and all…sometimes it makes for the best viewing! Your hearts must have POUNDED!!


nrhatch August 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I can just hear that elephant . . . GET OUT!!!

Wonderful shots. Thanks!


Naomi August 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thank you, Nancy…it was quite wild!


Lisa Fawkes August 19, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Oh gee,great photos !!! I have always loved the idea of being a wildlife photographer BUT I have just realized I dont have the guts !!!!!!!! Scary stuff. Well done Dave…and Niomi I dont know how you didnt loose him off the roofrack.!!


Naomi August 20, 2010 at 10:14 am

Thanks, Lisa!! You never fail to make me laugh! I would most likely have fallen off the roofrack, but was luckily in the driver’s seat πŸ™‚ Don’t be deterred, you would LOVE wildlife photography. There are plenty of gentle, danger-free moments in between ones like this!


Tammy McLeod August 20, 2010 at 4:58 am

How thrilling. I enjoyed learning that you can sort of do this on your own without hiring one of those zillion dollar tours. Great photos.


Naomi August 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

Thank you, Tammy…and yes, very much so. There’s a lot to be said for tours, but also something really special about doing it yourself, survivalist style. On those trips we take all our own water, food, fuel, etc. and camp out in the wild, without facilities or fences. It’s an amazing way to connect with nature – and yourself πŸ™‚ Thank YOU so much for connecting. It’s delightful to discover your stunning blog!


Brett August 21, 2010 at 6:16 am

Naomi and Dave, I simply must say that this is the single greatest capture I have ever seen from Africa! Tis true my friends. I have read books on the Delta and seen plenty of photography from the area, but never have I seen such a magnificent and extraordinary sequence such as this.

Wonderful Naomi; truly wonderful ~ I felt so alive when I saw this. Bravo and well done.

Thanks ~


Naomi August 21, 2010 at 6:44 am

Thank you for such a fabulous comment, Brett! It’s so heartwarming when someone far away can appreciate what Africa offers the way that you do. You’re an absolute delight πŸ™‚ Many thanks again, also for sharing this on your beautiful blog!!


donqvijote August 21, 2010 at 7:49 am

Awesome little story and awesome shots!



Naomi August 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Thanks a ton, David. Your blog is great – writing and photography!


Dani H August 21, 2010 at 9:07 am

So happy to hear that your friends and the elephants all came out fine in the end. What an adventure! Thanks for sharing!


Naomi August 23, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Thanks so much, Dani πŸ™‚ Lovely to connect again, thanks to the fabulous Brett!


JamieDedes September 7, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Oh, those pics are incredible, Naomi. I don’t know how your hubby does that too.

I hope people and elephant were all okay in the end.


JamieDedes September 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I just realized the car isn’t moving! So the car was at risk. Oh my … Camping out in South Africa sounds so adventurous.


Naomi September 7, 2011 at 5:03 pm

It’s very adventurous, Jamie – and on the contrary, the car was moving as fast as possible! (but from a standing start just before this) Everyone was fine in the end…the car got away and the elephant gave up the chase πŸ˜€


Tokeloshe September 8, 2011 at 2:38 am

Wow ! Excellent!


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