Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Weekend in Malawi: Elephant standoff

Mujete: so its my first weekend in Malawi and I have some time on my hands. Indi and his girlfriend were going to check out Mujete wildlife reserve so I tagged along (I’m here with two couples right now so all I ever am is the third wheel). The park is relatively unknown- the log at the guard gate said we were around the 4th car that whole week. It was quite fun: the wildlife is nowhere near as impressive as it was in Tanzania but we still got our fair share of impala, water buffalo, monkeys wild boar and elephants.

The highlight was seeing a huge elephant on the trail. Instead of backing off, however, the elephant started walking toward us which was terrifying because we were unarmed and a charging elephant would turn our car over and kill us pretty damn quickly. So we backed up quickly and he went back to eating. We couldn’t backtrack out of where we were though so, for better or for worse, we needed to pass this guy or wait him out. Indi decided that we should turn around because if the elephant was going to charge, he could easily outrun us in reverse but we had a chance going forward. So after a few false starts we backed past the elephant (with the idea that we could gun it back to where we were originally if need be) and he finally backed off the path. At one point our car scraped a branch and we all jumped about a foot in the air until we realized that we were making that sound and not him. We felt pretty triumphant when we eventually won the standoff even though he was probably never aggressive in the first place, just curious. But the important thing was that we felt victorious and could drive off to our next destination (a tree house with a view of a watering hole where we could watch a monkey show us his junk). Excellent day.

No comments:

Post a Comment