A family outing to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park took a disastrous turn when a bull elephant battered and flipped the family’s vehicle this past weekend.

The family – believed to be a husband, wife and their two children, aged 8 and 10, from the coastal town of Mtunzini – all managed to escape death and serious injury after their vehicle was charged and overturned by the angry bull. However they are reportedly severely traumatised.

Daily Maverick reports that the attack took place on a tourist road near Catalina Bay in Cape Vidal. .

elephant flips vehicle isimangaliso wetland park

At this stage it is still unclear why the elephant attacked the car, but an investigation will be launched by park officials.

Horrifying video footage taken by the occupants of another vehicle show the elephant mauling a white Ford pickup truck after it had flipped the vehicle over onto its roof.

Images circulated on social media show that the windscreen was cracked, with dents to both sides of the vehicle.

iSimangaliso Wetland Park is home to more than 100 elephants, living in separate family herds, all of which have been reintroduced to the park over the past 20 years.

The majority of these were relocated from the nearby Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park – orphans whose parents were culled in Kruger National Park – with some of the herd being more recent introductions directly from Kruger.

There have been various reports highlighting the long term psychological damage suffered by these orphaned and relocated elephants, with many believing that the trauma caused will never allow them to peacefully interact with humans.

Since the reintroductions began there have been a number of incidents of human-elephant conflict, including one reported fatality in 2005 when Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife general assistant Zelani Ntuli (50) was gored in the chest by an elephant that charged her vehicle.

Ntuli and fellow staff were returning to their camp in a land cruiser when they came across a breeding herd of 26 elephants drinking at a reservoir in the early evening.

In order to not startle the herd, they stopped the vehicle and switched off the lights. After waiting for a while, the team tried to continue, but were stopped by the herd. It is believed the elephants may have become disorientated by the flickering of the vehicle’s lights.

A large elephant then rammed the truck, pushing it back off the road and up against a tree. The windscreen was shattered and the roof lifted off its mounting, while Ntuli, a mother of two, was fatally gored.

In a separate video clip from 2016, a party of tourists recorded a close escape after encountering an elephant at close quarters on a tourist road – highlighting the dangers of visitors approaching elephants too closely, particularly when testosterone-charged bulls are in musth (a condition of heightened aggression and unpredictable behaviour in elephant bulls).