In a previous post (Dip on a Rebel Elephant) I wrote about how Soniko and Chris’s elephant was a bit of a rebel. Here, early in the trip, you can see it stopping for an unplanned snack. I feel I should mention that Soniko and Chris didn’t plan on getting so cozy atop a munching herbivore. When the elephants were being assigned, there were three available for single riders. A man there with his two daughter’s jumped at the opportunity, quickly followed by Soniko and Chris. Unfortunately, one of the elephants decided that it didn’t feel like going for a walk so was left behind, putting Chris and Soniko on the worst behaved elephant they had. Sharing was probably a good thing, at least they could share some of the trauma they went through. This included charging through thorn bushes, swimming through crocodile infested water, and regular breaking into a trot as the handler tried to slow it down. All the while, they must have heard the sound of Shannon and I laughing off in the distance. All summed up though, they definitely had the most adventure.
Soniko had a knack for finding himself in the most exciting situations. It was interesting because, as he readily admits, he was the person in the group least interested in the more adrenaline filled aspects. Despite this, he got to sit closest to the open doors of a Huey Helicopter, in Cape Town, for a simulated combat ride. He was first to get thrown from our raft on the rapids of the Middle Zambezi. He was even the first to get involved in a staring match with an agitated silver-back gorilla in Rwanda (until he snuck behind Cameron as evidenced by this video… watch the navy blue legs move behind the khaki ones). That being said, he survived it all and definitely seemed to enjoy himself.
I’ve mentioned before that it’s not easy shooting while straddling a lumbering elephant. My three exposures for this shot weren’t even close to being lined up. As a result, this is an HDR image from a single RAW.