Since I was little girl, my parents took my sister and I on regular camping trips to the Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Province, South Africa. My dad volunteered as a ranger, which meant that he had to be on duty every other weekend to make sure that all the guests visiting the national park were behaving accordingly. Alas, this was not always the case... People were often found wondering outside their vehicles in areas where this was – and still is – prohibited! This basically means the entire park, unless there is a notice stating that you may leave your vehicle at your own risk.
I could never understand why people would want to leave the safety of their vehicles in a park where elephants roam. I mean, I was scared to death! Whenever we drove past elephants – or they walked past us – I hid behind my dad’s car seat, hoping and praying that we did not die that day. My mom did not help much in these situations... She always joked around about getting out of the car to go and play with them.
But fortunately as I got older, my fear for elephants turned into admiration. I have to admit that this was not always the case when I drove around on my own though, as it is very intimidating being both the photographer and the driver in situations where elephants are standing right next to your car. Then at some point on a recent trip to Addo, I decided to let go of any fear I had for elephants and just embrace those moments when I use to feel like speeding off before something bad might have happened – which of course never did happen.
I am so grateful for staying this time, because I saw them behave in ways that I have never seen before and I have a newfound respect for these majestic animals. Here are a few of the images I have uploaded after watching them for hours at a time over a period of two weeks. The rest will follow soon!