Former Terminator and two-time California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, loves elephants, but the feeling apparently is not mutual.

A giant tusker minding his own business as he was being admired by the US actor on a South African safari suddenly decided to take a run at the truck Schwarzenegger was traveling in.

Initially the huge animal appeared bored with his audience, but then the elephant approached and tapped the vehicle with a tusk as one passenger said, "No, no, no, no." The driver started the engine.

The pachyderm began walking backward, keeping its gaze on the vehicle.

"Is he backing up because of the engine?" a woman asked. "No, he's going to charge us," Schwarzenegger, 68, said calmly.

The elephant then veered off and began walking to the side of the road.

"He's had it," someone said. The apparent guide of the trip said the animal was just being inquisitive. Then it suddenly came back, and started running toward the vehicle as it drove quickly away.

"I couldn't have written this safari encounter better if it was a movie," Schwarzenegger wrote on YouTube. "I'm absolutely in awe of these beautiful, strong animals, even though some of us had to change our pants after this," he quipped.

"We need to stop killing them — take a photo, not a shot. Would you rather be able to experience these creatures or a hunk of ivory? I thought so."

The former governor has slammed climate change naysayers and urged people to eat less meat to help the environment.

Schwarzenegger was in South Africa promoting the Arnold Classic Africa, a multisport festival that took place at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.