Watch this close call as an elephant charges a vehicle full of photographers during a game drive in the Kruger National Park.

Watch this close call as a large female elephant charges a vehicle full of photographers during a game drive in the Kruger National Park:

At first, it seems like the herd just wants to scare the vehicle off, but in a matter of seconds, the female decides to charge – it just goes to show how quickly things can go wrong. Details on the story are scarce, but according to Go! Magazine, the vehicle, a Jeep driven by Johann Lombard, was flipped during the incident and luckily no one was injured. However, judging by our own viewing, we’d say that the vehicle was merely bumped, which caused the video camera to topple – it sounds like they drive away to a safer vantage point, from which they shoot the final scene in the video.

Editor’s note: I don’t have any personal experience when it comes to wildlife photography, but this video raises a few interesting questions: Why did the herd of elephants react so aggressively? Could there have been a way to avoid the incident? Or is this a fairly common occurrence in game parks?

Update: The full story behind the video has been revealed! It turns out that the video above was just a really short cut of a longer 15 minute encounter with the elephant herd, and as such, it doesn’t reveal the whole story. Read more about the incident here.

We’d really like to hear your opinions in the comments below!

Via Go! Magazine and KBWS.


Elephant Charges Vehicle At Kruger National Park

  1. What was the driver doing, just yelling ‘hey, hey’ at angry elephants isn’t going to stop them. I travel to the Kruger at least once a year and elephants have ‘right of way’ and people should move away if they show any signs of aggression. Stupid man, Mr Lombard, you should obey the rules and notices posted in all the camps.

  2. The idiot driver should have his tour operator licence revoked. We don’t know what happened before, but this is HIGHLY unusual, particularly for elephants in Kruger who have lived with vehicles since Henry Ford built the first Model T. Elephants in Kruger don’t just attack like that – there’s a warning – at least once, and usually if you back up out of their way – sometimes as little as two meters – the ears go down and they cross the road in their normal dignified manner. Saying ‘hey’ ‘hey’ and ‘easy’ – ye gods, with the first mock charge he should have retreated a bit, but he didn’t. Thought he could talk to her like she was a puppy in training. With the second, real, charge, he should have been in reverse and moving rapidly out of her way. Macho showing off, was it, or just plain ignorance?

    1. @Thisbear…Johann Lombard is a highly trained FGASA Field Guide with over 20 years guiding in dangerous game etc.. He is certainly NOT an idiot and a very well respected mentor guide within the conservation community…
      Myself, my wife and the tracker are also trained FGASA Field guides…This wasn’t in Kruger it was in a private Klaserie concession…
      There is very little in this particular video clip…If you could see the entire video ( about 12 minutes ) you would not have made such comments..
      We were stationary at 100 meters; there was a safe passage of at least 25 mtrs for them to pass in front of us; We were parked across a ditch and elevated above her line of sight and the family group moved into the common space…
      What no-one knew at the time, was that the anti-poaching helicopters had been buzzing that area a day or so beforehand and we could only guess that culling from helicopters was a scary memory for these animals or that she ( Only one tusk) was in some form of pain having lost her one tusk prior to this incident…
      NONE of these elephant portrayed any of the serious “ears flattened” behaviour and behaved totally contrary to everything that we have ever experienced and also be trained to understand about ethology….
      All-in-all, to call people idiots when you have no knowledge of the incident, is only exposing yourself to ridicule, because I can assure you, everyone in that vehicle was equally surprised by the totally opposite actions from what we knew or had ever been taught…* There was over 80 years bush experience in that vehicle at that time…

      1. Thanks for providing fuller context: It appears therefore that whoever posted the video wanted to be sensationalist and melodramatic and to create a false impression around elephant behaviour.

  3. There is a reason you are told to never switch off your engine or even take your car out of gear around elephants. I agree with the comments below, he should have got the hell out of there at the first sign of fast movement. He got multiple warnings. As to why – they felt threatened, for some reason. They may have had a very young calf for example. It doesn’t happen that often in Kruger, but it’s not rare either. I’ve been charged by a lone bull while on foot with Kruger rangers, but we were safe on a small hill. That day things changed in seconds, there was no mock charge and he was travelling about twice the speed of the elephant above.

  4. Firstly may I correct this person who claims the video….
    This is only part of an incident which lasted about ten minutes until the actual impact and then the later footage was taken while waiting for the elephants to calm down and move off to a safe distance, then enabling us to move out.
    This particular female ( as did most of that family group of females ) had a young calf of about 18 months-24 months as well as only one tusk…She could have been in pain from a previous injury to lose that missing tusk.. This is only conjecture.
    The vehicle was NOT flipped…The elephant cow hit the bull-bar, climbed onto the bull-bar with her left knee and then pushed us backwards until we were stopped by rocks…
    With respect to Clair…Engine noise is considered aggressive and should only be considered when trying to “enforce’ dominance in a tight situation..

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