Ever since my first safari, I have had what I like to call a healthy respect (others may call it fear) of elephants. It didn’t seem to matter what the situation was or even how close the elephants were, I always became extremely nervous. I even recall one time where I almost jumped into a friend’s lap on a game drive because an elephant got too close for comfort.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to head on safari to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe with Imvelo Safaris. It was here that after 15 years I finally conquered my fear of being around these massive animals.
The highlight of the trip for me was the afternoon spent in the game viewing hide (a hidden observation post where you can watch animals up close), sipping ice cold drinks as herd after herd of elephants came to drink. One by one they became curious about us, knocking water bottles off the ledge and brushing against us with their trunks. After about an hour, I was covered in dirt, but my fear was gone and I was hoping they would all come close and say hello. For the rest of the trip I was completely relaxed around these gentle giants and cannot wait until my next close encounter with them in the future.