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Danger had a Gray Face MAG
Itwas Saturday, the Saturday I had been looking forward to for weeks. We were goingto Mana Pools National Park on the Zambazi River in Northern Zimbabwe, and it wasmy first chance to see elephants since moving to Harare one monthbefore.
My family and I rose early to make sure we had plenty of time. Wegrabbed a quick breakfast and climbed into our Toyota Venture. Dad drove and Momsat beside him; I had the middle bench while my two sisters each had one of thesmaller bench seats that faced each other in the back.
After several hourswe reached the dirt road to the park. I was bored and the early-morning heatdidn't help my mood. I tried looking for animals, but all I could see were smalltrees and bushes interspersed with taller acacias. Suddenly, life got moreinteresting.
Dad stopped the car and backed up several meters. He pointedinto the thick brush where I could see several huge gray shapes moving throughthe trees. Elephants! They seemed agitated, sniffing the air and watching ussuspiciously.
One of them started toward us with her ears flapping andtrunk raised to make herself look bigger. Dad quickly backed up a bit, thenbacked more quickly as the elephant broke from the trees and charged us. Dustbillowed from her feet and she trumpeted as she came. The pitch of our engine'swhine rose as it tried to surpass the speed of the beast, who was quickly gainingon us.
Suddenly, the elephant stopped. We retreated to a safe distanceand watched. Behind the elephant we could see the herd crossing the road, andwith them was the cause of the elephant's anger: a tiny baby. The elephant whocharged us had seen us as a threat.
After a while we continued and enjoyedthe rest of our day at Mana Pools. I have been to many other game parks and seenhundreds of elephants, but I have never forgotten that one at Mana Pools, whendanger had a gray face.
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