Close Encounters in Kruger

Megan Pieterse shares some of her closest encounters with animals in Kruger. Megan is currently in high school and plans to study wildlife conservation after finishing Grade 12. She is passionate about the bush and reads whatever books she cans to learn more.

“I’ve been in love with the bush forever. I wish I had more time to be in it with the wildlife. I love wildlife photography and hope one day it goes big and I get noticed! We were in the Kruger, on a day trip with the guides, and we came across this beautiful elephant calf. But she was by herself and we couldn’t see her mother anywhere. A couple of people (being silly) started banging the sides of their vehicle to try get the elephant calf to come closer for their photos. I got so irritated because you don’t go banging the sides of your vehicles to get a wild animal to come closer. So I moaned at them and told them to stop, or there could be danger.

As soon as I finished that sentence, the mother came charging out the bushes, running at a speed I never thought elephants could run at! She came straight to the vehicle and didn’t stop! At this moment I was so pumped with adrenalin and I didn’t take my eyes off this elephant. The others were screaming and waving their hands which only made her more angry. The guide told everyone to stay calm and sit still and then the protective mother came to my side of the vehicle where I was sitting. She was so close that we made eye contact but I wasn’t a tad bit scared. The others watched me and told me to stay calm even though I wasn’t panicking. I couldn’t believe it, I always knew I was good with animals, but I never thought that I could have felt such a strong bond with one so quickly.

The next day we went on a long morning game drive and I was lucky enough to be the first to spot a rhino, two to be exact. I was congratulated and the guide and I became close. The rhinos seemed curious about us and they started coming towards us. Again, people started panicking because the guide had told them that before a rhino charges, it steps closer and closer while eating until it’s close enough to charge. I just sat there waiting to see what would happen. And of course, my adrenalin kicked in. One of the rhinos came towards us at full speed and the guide had to get out the vehicle and fire a warning shot from his rifle. That is without a doubt the scariest experience I’ve had in the bush.”

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Megan! We look forward to hearing more of your stories from the bush. All the best with following your dream of working in the bush.

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