A group of terrified British tourists were left quaking in fear as a deadly stampede of angry elephants repeatedly charged their safari truck during a trip to South Africa.
What was supposed to be a relaxing chill out for the group of ten Britons and Australians became an experience of a lifetime when they ran into a herd of 40 elephants.
The TV crew tourists had booked into a South African safari lodge for a holiday after filming a series of the Australian version of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here in the Kruger National Park.
The stampeding herd of mainly female elephants and young calves flee from lions across a dirt road in front of the safari truck
The huge herd had panicked when a pride of hungry lions were detected by the adult elephants stalking their group of vulnerable calves.
The lions were looking for an easy kill but as the males elephants went on the offensive, the rest of the herd stampeded for safety and the tourists found themselves stuck right in the middle.
TV producer Trent Holmes, 40, who filmed this incredible encounter said: ‘Our guide Gert Kruger heard trumpeting while we were out in the bush and said a herd were nearby moving very fast.
‘He took us down a dirt track to see what was going on and suddenly coming from our right trumpeting and smashing through trees and bush was this huge herd of upset elephants.
‘They were moving very fast and Gert turned off the engine so as not to frighten them and let them pass but it turned out we were between this part of the herd and the rest of it.
An angry elephant bringing up the rear of the first part of the herd confronts the safari truck and stares down the tourists onboard
Another towering elephant, believed to be female, charges out of bush at safari truck for blocking stampede the herd’s route which ironically darted straight in front of the tourists
The group in their safari truck – TV producer Trent Holmes, 40, (back far right) filmed the incredible stampede at Kruger National Park
‘One fronted us up with big tusks and it was so scary but we thought after that they were all gone into the bush.
‘Then from the left of us one big elephant which I think was a female came bursting through the trees with its ears flaring and trumpeting and I have never been so scared ever.
‘Ranger Gert was so calm and just shouted out to the elephant: “Relax, come on, move off”.
‘It stopped its charge and you see and hear us on video laughing and see us smiling, but trust me it was a nervous reaction as we were all so scared because the elephant was so big.
‘Then it came back and charged fast again through the trees with its trunk out and one of our group begged Gert to drive away and he said: “Relax guys, we can’t go now, we have to wait it out”.
After a quick retreats the massive female comes back through the bush on its third and most aggressive charge
Showing its intentions this time, a female elephant with two babies aggressively stomps across from the right side of the side fearing its route to the rest of the herd is cut off
Fed up with the safari truck, two elephants approach from behind with a third nearby and show their frustration at being disturbed
A powerful elephant trunk pushes in close to the humans and could easily snatch one out
‘Then we had a third charge by the same elephant and it got so close with its trunk coming out towards us and I cannot tell you how terrified we were but Gert just said: “Hey relax”.
‘We then saw more elephants coming from our right and realised we were caught in the middle of the herd which is why Gert said the elephants on the left were upset with us.
‘Finally we had two big ones come right up to us and were eyeballing us and putting their trunks up close to us but Gert was calm and telling us just to relax and to keep quiet.
‘When the full herd had crossed he felt there was a safe time to turn on the engine and we slowly moved away followed by three or four elephants who were just shepherding us off.
‘Trust me the relief when there was distance between us for all was amazing.
‘It was the most incredible experience and not many can say they have been in the middle of an elephant stampede but Gert was fantastic and very calmly sorted the situation.
‘He said: “It happens every day” but none of us actually believed him!
‘I asked him later why he didn’t start the safari truck and get out and he said they were very agitated as lions were around and they may have attacked and flipped our vehicle over.
‘The lions were the threat he said not us and he told us to relax and it was his experience and skill that we had to rely on but when you are in that situation you are terrified.
One of the tusked mammals gets eyeball to eyeball with the terrified tourists, standing as close as a few feet away
A few of the irrate elephants see off the safari truck as the driver starts its engine and retreats
The terrified group later posed in front of their safari truck. Trent Holmes (centre in blue shirt) hangs from the side of the modified pickup truck
Safari ranger Gert Kruger who was the guide for the TV crew tourists ‘was calm and telling us just to relax and to keep quiet’
‘The noise of the trumpeting and ears flaring as they charged us is with me forever’ said Mr Holmes from Sydney, Australia.
Mr Holmes said: ‘We had an amazing safari but the next morning when Gert woke us to go out again and asked what we wanted to go and see we all said ‘anything but elephants’ and he laughed!’.
Elephants can weigh up to 6000kg’s and stand up to 11 feet tall and have been known to destroy cars and safari vehicles when angered and kill up to roughly 500 people a year worldwide.