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Game ranger to receive counselling following elephant encounter at Pilanesberg National Park

Mankwe Game Trackers, a company under Tourvest Adventures, which operates guided safari game drives for Sun City at Pilanesberg National Park in the Bojanala Platinum District of the North West, has said that the guide who encountered an elephant during a game drive will receive support and counselling following the incident.

According to the safari tours service provider, the incident that took place on March 18, 2024 was an isolated incident and the company is happy that all parties involved in the incident are safe.

“Although all safety protocols were diligently observed before the commencement of the game drive, towards the end of the drive, a bull elephant approached the vehicle and exhibited signs of musth.

“This understandably presented some unique challenges and safety concerns for the guide,” said Mankwe Game Trackers.

The safari tours service provider said it is not uncommon or unheard of for elephants to attack vehicles and all its tour guides are well trained for just such occurrences in line with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) and the Culture, Art, Tourism, Hospitality, and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA) professional authority standards.

“Despite the intensity of the situation, our guide prioritised the well-being of the guests as well as the elephant, resulting in no injuries being sustained.

“The encounter was immediately reported through the appropriate channels, leading to a response team and two safari vehicles being dispatched —one dedicated to guests and the other to retrieve the damaged vehicle,” said Mankwe Game Trackers.

Two videos of this elephant encounter went viral on social media platform TikTok at the start of the week.

In both videos, the guide is heard reasoning and pleading as the elephant rammed its head into the vehicle lifting it up with the passengers inside.

“As such, Mankwe Game Trackers has reached out to the guests for statements and has provided necessary counselling and support to our guide to assist with the traumatic experience.

“We are happy that all parties are safe, and we would like to thank our staff for handling the incident professionally, which is echoed through the various messages from the passengers that have been shared with us,” said the tour operator.

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