Getting chased up a sausage tree by an elephant

In the bush, there’s a slight catch 22. You have to be slightly fit, to become fit. Not having a flight to do that day I decided it would be good to go for a jog as I haven’t done an exorbitant amount of cardio and the effect of the daily fresh bread’s impact on my waistline was lingering in the back of my mind. I was joined by the director’s daughter who is definitely more fit as she recently completed a three-day MTB race. Out here we also always try to move in groups, so I was glad someone with more experience in this environment could join me.

We started our warm up on the path which leads to the nearest village. Plenty of workers at the lodge use this road to cycle back and forth to work. We stumbled across three bicycles that were scattered in the road and lying in different directions. We didn’t think much of this as perhaps they were just taking a break at a tree or had a meeting bit further from the road. A hundred meters later and we heard a loud trumpeting elephant right next to us! What ensued would be a gruelling and arduous task that lay ahead. This time of year, the tall grass is still thick, so when you encounter an elephant they are generally way too close for comfort, especially being on foot! Go go go, the sprint was on! The elephant started a charge and was following us on the road.

Usually, I enjoy novel experiences but with this one, it was tricky to assess whether we were in a real predicament. We sprinted, looked over our shoulders, and it was coming, swinging its trunk. Another hundred meters we slowed down, looked back, it was still coming for us. Adrenalin kicked in and another two series of sprints ensued as it kept coming.  It was a young male in musk, by itself looking to cause trouble. My lungs were starting to burn and I was completely out of breath at this stage. After 4 – 500 meters, we saw the three guys from the village who had dropped their bicycles plus another three that were starting to climb up the sausage tree. We started climbing soon after! Looking up, six bush cats were high up in the tree, I couldn’t believe how well these chaps could climb a tree! I only made it to the manifold, and it definitely wasn’t high enough. The elephant came within a couple of meters and just stared at us. An anxious minute or two passed and later he lost interest. As it started walking further, these guys above me started celebrating victory and shouted “You can’t kill us!” and threw a sausage which landed near its feet. Luckily he didn’t bother and started grazing.

We managed to sneak away, ducking below the tall grasses while the others were still in the tree. We made it to safety, what a relief! It was a short jog, somewhere in the region of 2.5km but the sheer exhaustion was something I haven’t experienced in quite a while. The fastest km, we had an average of 18.4 km/h and the average of the total was 13.5km/h.

The flying is going smoothly and the C210 is performing like a true workhorse! The season has picked up and I have flown almost every day the last two weeks. More of this to come in the post to follow.



Following the Luangwa