About an hour and a half later, rangers arrived. Their faces didn’t immediately reveal whether things were looking good or not. The rangers were incredibly friendly and reassured us that we were safe now. After assessing the situation, they suggested that with 4-wheel-drive, we might have been able to get out ourselves. Still, they wanted to attach a towing rope to be safe.
The only issue was that the rangers didn’t bring a towing rope, despite us mentioning on the phone that we had none. They started untangling a long, thin wire, hoping it would be strong enough to pull us out without snapping. Luckily, another safari jeep arrived (perhaps they had called for help?), with a towing rope and a driver who knew exactly where to attach it. With the ranger pulling, Laura pressing the gas, the car was out. Just like that. Tears of relief started flowing from Laura’s eyes.
We were then directed to drive through the waterhole that we did not want to pass earlier as it was not that deep after all. Beyond that, there was enough space to turn the car around. We did as instructed and were ready to move on.
Only then we saw that around 10 safari jeeps were heading our way. While we had waited, no one had been near, but now, everyone was likely hoping to spot something exciting. Unfortunately, the only attraction was us, feeling rather embarrassed.
The ranger told Jens that cars getting stuck was a common occurrence and that he wasn’t just saying that to make us feel better. They advised us to test waterholes with a stick next time (not that we had one or knew how deep or muddy it might be for us not to get stuck). Either way, we learned our lesson – never reverse again! Or at least, have someone guide you!
But just as we thought that we were safe, we spotted several elephants walking towards the road where several vehicles were already waiting for them. We just wanted to keep on going, so we followed the lead of another truck. Unexpectedly, one of the elephants, quite close to us (with only one vehicle in between), began to trumpet. It seemed like the elephant intended to cross the road but was hesitant due to the numerous vehicles.
After our recent escape from the lake, we now faced a potential threat of being attacked by this elephant. Seeking guidance, we turned to fellow drivers for advice, but even they were uncertain about what to do. We opted to briefly pause, allowing the elephant time to calm down. When it appeared more at ease, we wasted no time and drove away. Luckily we soon made it out of the park safely.
Out of our three weeks driving around Kenya in a 4×4, this situation during our self-driving safari in Amboseli was the toughest we faced. But we were really lucky, and now we can laugh at our own silliness looking back. And it is a great story to tell our friends over a beer.