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Fair warning


Well-Known Member
Njovu in the Chi Nyanja language, Nsofu in the Chibemba language... Elephants on the "z axis".

Pentax K-7 and smc Pentax DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED. ... Not moving particularly "fast", granted.... but not walking either.

You can always distinguish a mock-charge from a real charge as in a mock, the elephant will spread its ears to appear bigger than it actually is (not that it really needs to!), shake its head, trumpet loudly, sometimes arch its back up and often raise its head to look down at you condescendingly! Always pulling up after a short distance and usually kicking up some dirt like a beach bully. The message: "you are fair warned!"
In a real charge, they generally make no noise, tuck their ears back, drop their heads, come at you like an express train, and stop for nothing.

Young bull, short mock-charge (f/4, 1/640 sec, ISO-400, 88mm):


Young bulls will mock-charge anything that moves as part of their maturing process, they will charge anything in size from Guiney Fowl and Geese up to hippos and buffalo. They are also happy to try to show Land Rovers and Landcruisers who is boss too. This is nothing to do with humans in their domain, but everything to do with teenage hormones and testosterone. This is just a dominance display in training for when they need to challenge older bulls when they reach full maturity.

Young female mock-charge & chase (f/4, 1/1250 sec, ISO-400, 90mm):


Females sometimes mock-charge if there are young calves in the family group and often it is not the mother of the calf that will do the mock-charge, but a sister, aunt or cousin of the youngster. This leaves the mother to keep the calf well supervised and under control. Sometime though, the young calf will even join in the mock charge if it has strayed away from its mother... or even instigate it in somewhat comical fashion... can't let big sister have all the fun! These mock-charges though are not the bravado of young bulls, but should always be taken as a warning to keep your distance and give the family group the space and respect that it deserves, because as Kipling once wrote, "For the female of the species is more deadly than the male". Sometimes they just charge because they are in a bad mood... many of us can relate to that ;)


Well-Known Member
Excellent shots! Just love the views in these. Congrats.


Active Member
Very good series of images and also the explanation just great.


Well-Known Member
Thanks Danny, cj, RD, Blufftonian, Nachtegaal.