We woke up to news that an American tourist was killed by a lion at the Lion Park in South Africa by violating the most visible rule at the park: Keep Windows at all times. A few months ago I posted what I called Wildest Africa: Rules of Engagement. It was directed at behaviour that could potentially save your life on your safari holiday, and windows up on the self game drives was rule no. 2. The post had lost of humour so I will say it now with no humour.
Rule 1: Drive slowly
It is not only The Big Five that live in the wild. You have all sorts of small and wonderful animals that you could drive over if you’re not careful and they also play a role in the local biodiversity.
Rule 2: Keep windows closed at all times
This rule is always stressed on game drives. But remember you have your own window and you are an adult, no one will keep winding up while you wind down. There danger is when the animals gets inside, the outside is also not an option because cats like lions hunt in packs. They are also curious. I’ve seen a video of one opening a back door of a car at the Lion Park. It will approach and look for an opportunity. These are a predators and we should respect that. We are the prey.
Rule 3: Close windows and doors when you’re at game lodges
Hyenas are one of those animals that will come sniff out meat from your coolers at your camp site. Anything curious enough will jump in or walk in if it is given an opportunity, including people if you’re in the city. So protect yourself, lock your doors and close windows.
Rule 4: Drink bottled water
Places like the Johannesburg Metro have been good tap water but most don’t and regardless, nothing upsets my system like foreign water even moving from one town to another is SA, the difference can be staggering. So to reduce chances of sickness while on your holiday stick to bottled water.
Rule 5: Don’t wander off
Getting lost has a nice ring to it, bit when on foot safaris, that could mean certain death. So stay on the path and close to the ranger who also has a gun in case his methods of warding off the animal doesn’t work.
Rule 6: Keep your distance
Elephants have been known to charge at cars and topple them. Lots of cases at the Kruger national park of these incidents. If you want to see more just enter ‘elephants charging at cars at the Kruger National Park’ and you will see how life threatening these incidents are.
In the end you’re here to have a good time, and dealing with insurance claims and medical expenses is something no one wants as part of their holiday memories. Be safe in the Wild South!