Swiss couple on safari has close encounters of the elephant kind
A Swiss couple came a little too close to the exotic wildlife on their African safari when a giant elephant decided to test its strength on their hired car.
Rico Beltrame and his sister Angela, 29, were visiting the Hluhluwe Umfolozi nature reserve in South Africa in March when the incident occured.
Driving through the park in their hired blue Mark 1 Volkswagen, the pair were left speechless when a huge African elephant stopped and put its foot on their hired car.
Describing the incident in South African newspaper Beeld, Mr Beltrame said the pair were terrified when they saw the elephant walk towards them.
“In front of us was a safari vehicle with tourists,” said the 27-year-old.
“My sister and I drove in our Golf behind them. We saw a group of elephants and started taking photos when we saw the elephant head our way.
“A game ranger shouted that I must turn the car off, which I did.”
Mr Beltrame then thought that the elephant would walk past them.
Instead, it seemingly decided to take a closer look at the occupants of the car.
“We got very scared when he stood by us and put his foot on the hood of the car,” Mr Beltrame added.
“We waited about five or six minutes, sitting without moving, waiting, before the elephant continued walking. “It was an unbelievable experience.”
Keith Marallich from Far and Wild Safaris said the photo was taken by one of their British clients.
According to Ms Renette van der Merwe, regional manager of Budget rent-a-car, who Beltrame rented the car from, the damage cost about R7000 to repair the car.