Jumbo-sized romance

PORT Elizabeth hair stylist Warren Schultz took Lizel Marais to the heart of the Addo Elephant National Park two weeks ago to propose to her – and he was not the only one on bended knee. Warren, 28, lured Lizel, 25, on an Addo Elephant Back Safari by pretending he had to style hair for a bride who was to be married there.

LOVE IN THE WILD: Warren Schultz proposed to Lizel Marais in the heart of the Addo Elephant National Park
LOVE IN THE WILD: Warren Schultz proposed to Lizel Marais in the heart of the Addo Elephant National Park

“I didn’t suspect a thing while on our way there. Warren told me he had to do hair for a wedding in Addo and I was going to assist,” Lizel, who is a manager at the Fig Tree Spur, said.

“On our way there, one of his colleagues [at Bliss Hair and Skincare] called to tell us the bride was running late so they’d organised for us to go on a safari game drive in the meantime.

“When we arrived, we were the only couple there but I still thought nothing of it because the people at the lodge went along with Warren’s story about doing hair for a bride.

“Going on the elephant safari was an amazing feeling, and you form such a bond with the animals.”

At a certain spot, all the elephants stopped and allowed their passengers to get off, except for Lizel.

“My elephant took me further on. “Eventually, the trainer told the elephant I was riding on to get down.

“I climbed off and they told me to sit on the elephant’s leg while they took photos and gave me the opportunity to interact with the elephants.”

That was when Warren made his move and went down on one knee.

“All I remember him saying was ‘babe, there is no wedding’ and ‘I love you’.

“I didn’t hear anything else until he said: ‘Lizel Marais, will you marry me?’

“His proposal was perfect – nature, animals, everything I love. It was the most romantic thing I have ever experienced. It still feels so unreal. It feels like a dream. It felt amazing to say yes to the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with.”

Warren said he knew Lizel had a passion for animals and nature, so “when one of my clients told me about this I did all the research I could. I thought it would be such an amazing experience for the both of us. I wanted it to be a surprise.”

Addo Elephant Back Safari’s Carol Heath, who deals with central reservations, said it started offering the elephant proposals years ago due to demand.

The safari costs R850.

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