Wildlife – Close Encounters
Global Traveler|April - May 2021
Share amazing moments with wildlife in destinations around the world.
By Richard Newton

Etosha National Park, an arid, salty-white landscape in northern Namibia, is home to the world’s largest elephants. Size is relative; the only true measure is to stand next to one. So here I am in Etosha, face to face with a full-grown bull elephant. How is it possible? How have I not been squashed?

The secret lies in the pane of elephant-proof glass between us. I am in the hide at Olifantsrus Camp; the elephant drinks from the waterhole immediately on the other side of the window. He appears to be aware of me, but thirst is his greater concern. He sucks huge quantities of water into his trunk, then hoses it into his mouth. I gaze up, awestruck.

My lifelong passion for wildlife has taken me all over the world, giving me many memorable encounters. Few have been as close as this. In any venture into the wilds, you need to adhere to two overriding priorities: Minimize disturbance to the animals and ensure your own safety. This remarkable hide gives you proximity without compromising those priorities.

Later, from the hide’s upper level, we look directly down on a lioness as she drinks. We can hear every lap of her tongue and can see her tawny hide shudder in response to the flies buzzing around her. Melodic birdsong provides the soundtrack as the sun sets and the light fades. Eventually the lioness pads off into the advancing dusk as another elephant herd cautiously makes its way toward the waterhole. The end of an unforgettable day.

We travel for many reasons. Whether on business or for leisure, experiencing different places and cultures is endlessly enriching. But traveling to watch wildlife adds an extra dimension. Nothing can be taken for granted. You can spend hours looking with no reward, or you can have a once-in-a lifetime encounter. Nothing is guaranteed, and anything is possible.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GLOBAL TRAVELERView All

Southern Hospitality

Plant Riverside District redefines Savannah’s riverfront.

3 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

THE BREAKERS PALM BEACH

ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: We arrived at 1 p.m. and were greeted by the valet team, who introduced themselves and took our bags. The front desk team were enthusiastic, and in a short time we were in our beautiful room, where a cold bottle of Champagne and some delicious chocolates greeted us. The bellman supplied some information, and we were ready to sit on the deck and look out at the beach and ocean. The view was expansive and soothing.

1 min read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

Romance on the River

Take to the water and explore Budapest’s splendor at a leisurely pace.

5 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

RANCHO BERNARDO INN

ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: I had been itching for a road trip or staycation for a while and decided to take a few days away from Los Angeles and head down to sunny San Diego and explore downtown and Coronado Island.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

Natural Serenity

Umstead Spa channels the native terrain of North Carolina.

4 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

NEMACOLIN

ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Talk about a grand entrance! After driving across the state of Pennsylvania and spending the last 40 minutes of our journey in a snowstorm, Nemacolin’s The Chateau coming into view was a welcome and gorgeous sight.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

CRANE'S BEACH HOUSE

GUEST QUARTERS: A few hours before I checked in, I received a text message that Crane’s Beach House had an opening, and I was upgraded to its luxury villa. Needless to say, I was eager to see what awaited behind the doors of Villa No. 7; the door, by the way, was sealed with a “sanitized and sealed” sticker, and I later found the same sticker sealing the refrigerator door and toilet as well.

2 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

Golf in the Lowcountry

Place South Carolina’s Kiawah Island Golf Resort high on your must-play list.

3 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

Wildlife – Close Encounters

Share amazing moments with wildlife in destinations around the world.

5 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021

Have Vaccine, Will Travel

COVID-19 immunization may play a major role as we strive to return to travel.

6 mins read
Global Traveler
April - May 2021