Norwegian tourist gets up close with elephant in South Africa


It’s often said that seeing the big five in Africa is an exhilarating experience but for one Norwegian backpacker her up close and personal experience with a friendly pachyderm was a bit too close for comfort.

Aged care worker Kristin Ruud, 54, was parked on a hill inside a reserve in Port Elizabeth when a wild elephant came with inches of her on a South African safari as it approached her open-topped vehicle.

PIC FROM Kristin Ruud / Caters News

Kristin, who was holidaying with her mother, said she could not help fear the calf might attack them when he ventured within arm’s reach at sunset.

Kristin, from Oslo, said: “We heard the elephants in the bushes and tried to catch up to them, but couldn’t see them behind the trees.”

“We were about to call it a day when he came right up to us surprisingly quickly.

“Our ranger stopped the car to not disturb him as he walked around in total silence.

“You don’t realise how big they are until you see them that close. At one point, I thought: ‘what if he attacks’?”

The encounter was captured inside the Kariega Game Reserve in April but posted to social media this week.

PIC FROM Kristin Ruud / Caters News

Elephant populations are on the rise in South Africa, causing an increase in the frequency of run-ins with humans.

And Kristin said the once-in-a-lifetime moment was the icing on the cake of a memorable trip.

“My mother jumped right into my lap, because she was sitting next to me, and closer to the elephant.

“We made some contact with the elephants in the reserve, but nothing like this.

“I have a deeper respect for these animals now, they’re so handsome, powerful and gentle at the same time

“This was one of my best holidays of my life, and this this definitely the highlight.”


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