A trip to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal ended in drama for two visitors after a bull elephant lifted their car and overturned it in a roadside ditch.
It was just after Wednesday lunchtime , when the occupants of a white Ford Figo had a close encounter with the elephant on the road from Memorial Gate to the Hilltop Resort. Noticing the elephant’s apparently relaxed approach, the driver of the car pulled to the side of the road to let him pass, according to the park rule to give way to animals.
Instead of passing , the elephant put down his trunk on the hood. As the driver tried to free the vehicle, the elephant poked its tusk through the passenger window and shattered the glass.
“He lifted the car like rugby players lifting in a row. Unfortunately, they chose not to complete this usual rugby act, instead dumping the car in a roadside ditch,” said Ezemvelo Field Ranger Velenkosini Ntombela, who witnessed the incident.
As if that wasn’t scary enough, the elephant kept pushing and attacked the rear of the car before deciding it wasn’t worth wasting his energy on an object that didn’t fight back, so he backed away.”< /p>
According to Ntombela, the destruction was complete in a blink of an eye and the elephant backed away “as if standing in its corner to let the boxing referee count to 10 before declaring the fight over.” He only moved out of the car when Ntombela safely fired a warning shot as he re-approached the car with its occupants shaken.
The sound of the gun being fired stopped the elephant’s approach and it disappeared into the bush. The occupants of the battered car were taken to the ranger’s car and taken to safety. No visible physical injuries were found on either occupant. The damaged car was towed away.
Ntsikelelo Dlulane, acting CEO of Ezemvelo, expressed relief that no lives were lost and added that things could have gotten ugly.
“I am grateful that there was no loss of life and both occupants survived the ordeal with no visible injuries. My appreciation also goes to Mr Ntombela for remaining calm under difficult circumstances. We will never know what would have happened if he had panicked and decided to shoot the elephant,” he said.
Support independent journalism by subscribing to The Sunday Times. Only 20 R for the first month.