Of the many potential animals a safari guide might encounter during an excursion into the wild, an angry elephant bull is probably last on the wish list. While guiding a group of tourists in South Africa's Pilanesberg Game Reserve recently, safari guide Bongani Yende found himself in a showdown with a particularly belligerent bull that repeatedly hoisted his vehicle clean off the ground.

The incident took place at the Rathlogo Bird Hide in the centre of the reserve where visitors are permitted to alight from their vehicles provided they remain in a designated area. While the guests were stretching their legs, Yende spotted a sizeable elephant bull sauntering in their direction, recalls Eldine Arendse, a guest on the vehicle, who shared his footage and story with Latest Sightings. Provided they are afforded enough space, elephants rarely clash with tourists or vehicles, but like all wild animals they are unpredictable. This unpredictability is amplified when bulls enter a heightened hormonal state called musth which is often characterised by increased aggression. The giveaway that a bull is in musth is a thick tar-like secretion that oozes from the temporal ducts just behind the elephant’s eye.

Yende immediately recognised the telltales signs and took action. He managed to rally some of his group back onto the safari vehicle, but many remained in the bird hide and parking area. In an effort to usher the elephant away from the area, Yende revved the engine and surged towards the approaching bull, shouting and slamming his door as he did so. Initially, it appeared as though his offensive tactic had worked as the elephant withdrew a short distance. The bull's retreat was only temporary, however, and shortly afterwards it began to approach again.

This time no amount of shouting and revving would deter the bull and it advanced, forcing its tusks into the bulbar of the truck and lifting the front of the vehicle into the air. After a few repeated hoists, the elephant abandoned his onslaught and moved off leaving guide and guests more than a little rattled.

Top header image: Brittany H., Flickr