This article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Spider Magazine. It's about a true experience when an elephant wrapped his trunk around my ankle.
I love the African bush, and have spent a lot of time there over the last 17 years. I’m lucky because ranger friends have shared their bush wisdom with me, teaching me safe ways to act in the wild. The three most important things to remember are simple:
Be quiet or you’ll never see anything.
Be calm so that when you do see something it will stay.
Be informed about how to act in different situations.
Knowing these things has saved my life a few times. Twice this involved close encounters with elephants.
I’ll never forget seeing 40,000 muscles, packed neatly in an elephant’s trunk, heading straight for my face.
I was sitting in the front seat of an open Land Rover - no roof, no doors - and definitely no place to go, watching a small herd of eight grazing elephants.
The sun was shining, spreading a soft, yellow light in a day that would be very hot. The call of the red-billed hornbill punctured the air, Wot, wot…” while the elephant stomach rumbles struck long deep tones.