We went on safari in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, the oldest game reserve in South Africa. We started at dawn and drove around the Imfolozi section of the park, which is located on King Shaka kaSenzangakhona’s (the most famous of the Zulu kings) hunting grounds. We didn’t see any of the big cats but we had another magical moment, this time with elephants.
We spotted a herd of elephants moving through the bush. Our guide drove us around because he saw them heading to cross the road. We waited and then almost out of no where, first one and then about 50 elephants appeared. In front and in back of our vehicle giant mother elephants and babies surrounded us. Some of the mothers trumpeted their horns, warning us not to get any closer. Through we were in a rather large vehicle (a bakkie kitted out with safari seats) I’ve never felt smaller. We were literally surrounded with fifty+ 3 ton+ elephants on on all sides. If they feel you are threatening their babies they will attack- we have friends whose car fills with water when it rains because an elephant tried to crush it.
Before we knew it they had crossed the road and disappeared into the bush, leaving us in wonder how a group of animals who individually weigh several tons could appear invisible after walking a few feet into the green.
We were enamored with the larger game, but our guide informed us the wild dogs we saw are a rare sight as he goes years without seeing them, because they are on the brink of extinction. As you can see if you look closely, one of them is collared so that they be studied by conservationists. Although the warthogs were plenty and thus a relatively boring sight, that was probably my best picture because I was able to get so close.
I wonder if Safari Guide is the career path I should have chosen.