An Elephant Encounter in Botswana-2017

Enjoying the early morning silence of the bush, our group left the campsite at 6:30 for 6:40 sunrise coming up over the Okavango Delta as we Mokoro’d (dugout canoe) to another island.

I was with 2 Germans, and our guide Langos and trainee guide Spear made 5. Soon we were walking in the bush and a herd of 20 zebras moved parallel to us a few hundred meters south.

Then in the distance about 200 meters out we saw a herd of 20 or so elephants that were moving very quickly by another herd of 30 or so zebras.

We continued west trying to get close to the elephants. We got to a termite hill and saw several walking by about 50 meters out. Then we walked back east and saw a herd of 40 or so zebras and a lone old wildebeest. About 9 we sat down for a quick snack break.

Later walking along a fence line, suddenly a large bull elephant appeared about 40 meters ahead coming right towards us and we were upwind so he could smell us.

Langos, our Botswanan Lead Guide told us to back up slowly and then veer left but suddenly the elephant turned and started lumbering right at us and closing in at about 20 meters.

Langos ordered us to move quickly but not to run. I was the last tourist and Spear, our young trainee rear guide was behind me and he started to push me and then he went running by me. This caused me to get a bit scared as I would be the first victim if the elephant overtook us but thankfully the elephant was content to let us flee.

African Safaris by vehicle are incredible but walking in the bush; mindful of staying upwind of dangerous animals, avoiding stepping into aardvark holes and bushes with 3 inch needles, feeling fear is a much richer experience making you feel intensely alive.

Later that evening our team of local guides sang and danced around a roaring campfire. Wonderful day feeling the real Africa walking joyfully in the Delta.

Sunrise over Okavango Delta, Botswana
Enjoying the zebras
A less aggressive elephant

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