In a delightful encounter at the Lion Place Lodge within the Grietjie Private Game Reserve in Kruger National Park, a young elephant recently added a touch of charm to its day by taking a leisurely sip from a swimming pool.
The unexpected visit unfolded as Eugene Troskie, a 34-year-old wildlife manager, enjoyed a break on the lodge’s deck.
As a herd of elephants meandered through the reserve, an inquisitive young male, estimated to be around 20 years old, caught Troskie’s attention.
Using its trunk, the elephant approached the pool for a refreshing drink, providing Troskie the perfect opportunity to capture the enchanting moment on camera.
To Troskie’s surprise, the elephant didn’t stop at just a drink. It casually strolled over to a nearby tree, indulging in fresh shoots.
In a moment of pure wonder, the elephant rested its tusk on Troskie’s shoulder, seemingly unaware of the human presence.
Maintaining his composure, Troskie, drawing on his decade of experience as a game ranger, marveled at the close encounter with the majestic creature.
Lion Place Lodge, situated near Phalaborwa in Limpopo Province, is renowned for being home to Africa’s “Big 5” wildlife: elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, and rhinoceroses.
The lodge’s 2,800-hectare savannah reserve often witnesses elephant herds visiting a nearby waterhole. Occasionally, some venture into the lodge area to drink from the pool, creating joyful moments for guests.
Reflecting on this extraordinary experience, Troskie said, “It was an incredible encounter to have a wild elephant, unaware of your presence, rest his tusk on you. I knew I was never in any danger from the animal.”
He explained the unique dynamics, highlighting, “If you approached them at their waterhole, they would perceive you as a threat, but when they come into a lodge, everything smells of humans, so they are not surprised by humans.”
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