Kiba Point

Caught between an elephant and Jo

20 September 2010

The photoshoot has continued, and as fun as sunsets, pools and booze are, it wasnt until yesterday evening that we got to what its all about. Noemie's hair got an evening off as Jo and I were joined on a walk by the indomitable Richard Knocker, head of guide training for Nomad, he showcased the (almost) textbook way to get close to elephants on foot. We approached from downwind under the cover of dense thickets to within twenty meters, where we crouched down behind a bush. The elephants never even knew we were there until we started to pull back and even then, they never saw us or identified us as humans. In fact, they were so oblivious that the only reason we withdrew was because as they calmly fed on grasses at the edge of the garden, they were aimlessly wandering closer and closer to our position.

I will give a great deal of credit to Jo for capturing a wonderful picture of Richard and me crouched behind the bush with the elephants just beyond, but no way does a photograph fully capture the whole experience, beginning with spotting the herd from afar and culminating in moving away with only nominal disturbance to the elephants. Though I have to say there was one particularly odd aspect to the moment. If I thought modelling in a pool while drinking a beer was tough, you should have seen Jo trying to position us behind the bush so that she could properly capture it all. Hands jabbing left and right, lips hissing indecipherable commands, eyes narrowed, Jo was a frightening enough site that Richard and I began to think that safety lay towards the elephants rather than back towards her.

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