There seems to be something about Pilanesberg. And there seems to be something about silver Volkswagens.

For the second time in the last three years, pictures of some self-driven safari-goers getting a little more up close and personal than they expected with one of Pilanesberg National Park’s male elephants  have gone viral. On both occasions, the car involved was a silver Volkswagen.

On this latest occasion a couple of days ago on the 6th of August, it appeared the elephant in question had an itch that he just HAD to scratch, and the VW Polo in question just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.


The incredible images, were taken by Armand Grobler, 21, a field guide and lodge manager in Pilanesberg. Grobler said that the animal was most likely in musth (when a male elephant has an excess amount of testosterone), “yet even though it was in this condition, it displayed no signs of aggression or frustration and was in a more playful mood.”

Elephants often use logs, small trees or rocks to relieve an itch or get rid of parasites. So why not a car?

Grobler went on to say: “We were unsure of what to do in the situation when the elephant made contact with the car, and when the car was being crushed, we feared for the lives of the driver and passenger but our efforts were very limited as to what we could do.

The all-round emotion that was within our vehicle, as we watched in horror, was that we were rushed with adrenaline yet terrified and helpless. The two passengers in the car, male and female, both in late 20’s or early 30’s, were not harmed, only badly shaken up. They were both in shock but happy to be alive. The car was not so lucky. From what we could see and hear, all the windows were smashed, the roof was badly dented and the entire top part of the car smashed. All four tyres had been blown and the chassis broken.”

To read about the incident where Pilanesberg’s most famous bull elephant Amarula flipped a Volkswagon into a bush back in 2011, click here.

And for anyone going to Pilanesberg any time soon, try not to drive a silver Volkswagen.