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Vivek Roy
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Elephant bull in the South African wilds of Madikwe Game Reserve.

A few months ago +Gizmodo wrote a post about the Makanyane Safari Resort ( There was one photo of their lobby view with a large elephant smack in the middle of the frame. I was sold. This was my very first safari.

Makanyane is located in the Madikwe Game Reserve in North-East of South Africa, a few 100m from Botswana. "Welcome to the bush," says the good-looking South African game driver revving up the engine of the Toyota land cruiser as we head out our first safari adventure. "From now on you are considered the bottom of the food chain," he says grinning ear to ear.

Dylan, a strapping late 20s lad with sparkling green eyes, darkly tanned skin from 9 years of game driving in the hot sun, laughs when I ask him if he'd ever consider doing a reality show. "I've been asked," he sheepishly replies, "but just want to drive for myself."

Dylan puts down his binoculars, narrows his eyes, and flips on the sputtering engine -- we are off in search of the big 5: Lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino.

The big 5 refers to the most dangerous animals who will charge, maim, or kill you, so naturally those are the ones we all want see.

After an uneventful few minutes, the jeep turns the corner, and we are meters away from a very large elephant. The blood drains from my face and replaced by sincere amazement with a heavy dosing of straight up fear.

"He's a big boy," exclaims Dylan. The bull starts to move towards us with his ears extended. He does not look impressed. With one damaged tusk this guy looks like he might have some anger management issues. He raises his truck and continues to push forward. Having no sense of impending danger, I am furiously snapping shots.

The bull opens his mouth and widens his ears. Dylan senses danger and slams on the gas, throwing us into reverse as we veer off the path into the bush. "Duck," he yells. Vicious bushes with needle-like spires come within inches of my face, slightly grazing my arm. A close call indeed!

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