While I was in Sri Lanka I went on few safari tours through Udawalawe National Park. Before this I had never seen elephants in their natural habitat, nor had I been on a safari, so this was a pretty special experience for me. On my last tour through the park we were really lucky because we were with one of the most experienced guides and drivers in the park. It was just my girlfriend and I with them on this particular tour. We rolled into the park as the sun was just peaking over the horizon. The park was blanketed in a thick fog— not the most ideal conditions for spotting animals however, judging by how keen of an eye our guide had in previous days we knew we were in good hands. We entered the park and made our way down the red dirt roads and within minutes we approached a silhouette of an elephant off in the distance. We pulled up close enough to see the elephant in the mist, but far enough away to not bother the massive mammal. The driver turned off the ignition. Our guide quietly let us know that this was a male bull elephant in heat. We observed the elephant for a minute or two and he observed us… Eventually the elephant began to turn towards us and slowly make it’s way in our general direction. For an animal so large it was amazing how little noise they make as they move around. Eventually this enormous male was a stones throw away and he was continuing to make his way even closer to us. At this point our guide pulled out his phone to shoot this encounter and the driver turned our vehicle back on. Before I could even process what exactly was happening our driver began to peel out and this elephant began to chase us. Our guide yelled at the elephant in hopes to deter it from hitting our vehicle. It chased us for a few seconds before stopping and disappearing into the bush. I guess we weren’t worth the hassle. Luckily for us this was just a bluff charge. Our guide let us know that the males can sometimes be a little aggressive when they are in heat.
Our guide had the wherewithal to shoot video of this event unfolding and I was also able to grab a couple stills as well. This was one of my favourite moments in Sri Lanka and I’m glad we were able to capture it.