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Tusker

Have you ever been scared on Safari??

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I was sharing this story the other day, and wonder if anyone else has been "scared" while on a Safari....

 

We were driving offroad, when they spotted some lions. We were above them on a hill, and the driver decided to drive down the hill, at a very, very steep decline. I thought for sure we were going to tip over, and land amongst the lion pride. While we made it, I was not happy with the driver. I expect they know their vehicles, and what is possible... but it was still quite scary. Trust me, it took a number of "black label" beers that night to calm my nerves.

 

Lots of other stories, like a Hyena walking around a corner at camp a few feet away from me, black mamba going through the dining area, close encounters while on a walking safari. But nothing that truly scared me...

 

Anyone else have a story? 

 

 

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"Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water." - W. C. Fields

 

I can't begin to imagine how scary this scenario would be...

 

Matt

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@Bugs and I came quite close to a lioness whilst on foot in iMfolozi...

 

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We were approaching the Black iMfolozi River, further on from where camp was, watching kudu, impala, we were watching nyala on the opposite bank, a huge cliff to our right where we were later to have lunch, (one of the many sites from where King Shaka of the Zulus would throw his victims to their deaths, an eerie place full of foreboding…) There were buffalo in the river. The group had broken into two, Bugs and I with Magnificent, our guide, lingering a little, a slower pace. Bugs is saying to be quiet as we drop down to the river bank, I’m sure I’ve heard something, I say, “Bugs!” in a growled whisper. Buffalo, rhino, something, whatever, close, Bugs is thinking buffalo and then suddenly there comes roaring right beside us, a lioness charging out of the bushes at us, no more than five meters away, in front, a male lion acting aggressively towards the front of the column, the lioness charges, we backed up, Bugs and I at this point in front of our guide. Fighting the urge to run, standing big, tall, we got back behind Maggie, she’d not even had time to chamber a round, she raised the rifle, Sabelo came alongside, the lioness charged a second time - it was hectic. All noise, growling, heartbeats, deep breaths, the looks on our faces; shock. Some fear. The lioness, big, close, a warning roar, had she come on a third time it would have been curtains for us, she was pawing the ground, almost bouncing up and down, I don’t know who was more surprised, us or her. Afraid. Magnificent had handled herself extremely well. There was nothing more she could have done at the time of the first charge and if that lioness had carried on it would have had us, had Bugs and I... now Maggie and Sabelo pointing rifles at the lioness shouting at it. Totally unexpected: we hadn’t tracked her, this was a chance, surprise encounter which could have been very dangerous for us, the guide and indeed the lioness, luckily we moved back slowly, the lioness retreated and we took another route but the male lion, I don’t know where he was now but he’d been coming behind the group, he hadn’t charged, as we dropped down into a riverine gully, a blind alley again he was growling, roaring approaching was there, we could see him about twenty meters away, it was more nerve wracking there was no escape you were in a cut off valley in this riverine but we did avoid them and dropped down into the river, breathing hard, adrenaline kicking in, there had been no time to be scared, just stand up big in front of the lioness, not run, not give in and turn our backs to her.

 

Taken from the joint Primitive Trail report by myself, @Bugs, @Soukous and @Peter Connan here:

 

Matt.

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Not afraid like any of these scenarios so far.  As a nervous flier, I did not enjoy my first (or subsequent!) trips on a tiny bush plane.  And one night walking back to my tent a snake (small, nonvenemous I'm told) crossed our path.  I didn't see it but just hearing "Snake" made me shriek like a 12 year old girl.  I'm snake phobic.  I imagine if I saw one otherwise that might register.

 

But in terms of wildlife, no, it just never occurs to me for some reason even when we get as close as we do and sleep amidst them, hearing them right outside the tent.  When we first came across gorillas on our trek in Rwanda and the silverback rose up to balk at our being there, I didn't feel afraid. In retrospect I thought maybe I should have been at least a little concerned.

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I think my most scarey moment was walking in Mana when we came around a bush to see a hippo trundling towards us, heading back to the water. I could feel the concern of my guide, Doug. In the 13 years I have known him he had not shown anxiety in any previous close encounters.

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As close encounters go, the one recounted by @Game Wardenabove rates right at the top, but there have been a few other (similar) ones in other places, at other times.

 

Certainly, being an idiot has played a large part in most of them...

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Elephants charging game drive vehicles in Botswana right through the 2000s ........ 3 or 4 really full on charges in 2007 (on one particular game drive will never leave my memory) ....... I ended that particular game drive with a sun downer in camp where i was literally shaking!

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Ok- that story from Game Warden had my palms sweating as I read it. Yeah, had a few scares.....had a bull elephant come around the corner of my tent, literally 2 seconds after I came in (this is when I learned that elephants can tip toe) and as I moved in the tent he whipped around and looked- I froze. He moved on....got the heart thumping though. Had a few scary elephant charges though only really one that I thought we were going to get hit. And, some scary driving- kind of like how @Tusker described- sure we were going to flip. One time a guide was infatuated with an elephant in the dunes and did some, what I thought was stupid driving, to get the right picture and at one point I knew we were stuck and of course, that's when the elephant decided to take notice. Thankfully all was okay. Little moments like that - gets the heart racing.

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yes...but nothing like some of these stories.  On our first trip (SLNP) we had so many mock charges that it was not until a year later that I told my husband that I was afraid of elephants.  No longer afraid.  Not too thrilled with hippos when canoeing.

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Agree with @marg .......canoeing on a very small channel of the Zambezi river filled with pissy pods of hippos.......I would stare at my shoes, paddle furiously because if I didn't see them they wouldn't see me and that method worked......several mock charges but we made it through the gauntlet alive.  Thrilling and so beautiful but I was flat out scared at times.

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I recall this video that we featured on Safaritalk with a hippo, that must have got the heart racing...

 

 

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Many years ago, I was walking alone in the Klaserie. It was a long walk, and I have a bad habit of wandering around in my mind when walking.

 

Suddenly, the world turned yellow.

I had walked almost into a pride of 23-odd lion, including youngish cubs. Two or three lionesses faced me and two more charged while the rest of the pride made haste to leave.

 

I stood for the first charge, then slowly reversed for two more mock charges, getting closer all the time, before the lionesses decided the cubs were far enough out of harm's way. Apart from a car accident, that's probably the closest I ever got to death.

 

Another time, in the same area, I was walking along (still quite close to camp this time) whae I saw a Rhino and calf feeding toward me. As they were still oblivious to my presence, I kneeled quitly down.

They continued feeding toward me. When I came out of my wonderment, they were about 15m away, and still unaware of my presence, and I was stuck with a conundrum. If they noticed me now, I was definately inside the "fight, not flight" radius. Fortunately, I managed to back out without alerting them to my presence.

 

The most recent one, although far less actual than the other two, is recounted in post #97 of my latest trip report, here:

Just to prove that I was not beingentirely fancifull, a friend spotted a leopard here two weeks ago...

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  • a bit when people get really noisy around the ultra close lions in an open vehicle
  • going into the amenities block at Sauvti  public campsite Botswana, the building has no doors or lighting ,you just walk in and guess
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  • in a hike at Tsavo West  the group came across a mother lions with cubs

 

the guide ran into the bush, the ranger dropping the rifle followed him , leaving the guests to work out things for themselves 

 

fortunately the lioness and cubs stayed in the bush

 

no one was impressed

 

  • on that same trip they allowed me to walk at least 100 meters behind everyone else with a  bad limp, due to knocking one ankle against rocky outcrops which the mad keen climbing guide insisted on climbing  instead of walking around
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22 hours ago, COSMIC RHINO said:
  • a bit when people get really noisy around the ultra close lions in an open vehicle
  • going into the amenities block at Sauvti  public campsite Botswana, the building has no doors or lighting ,you just walk in and guess

 

I don't know how long ago this was, but when I was there in 2012, the ablution block had been turned into a fortress. I have seen less impressive defensive earthworks in real military forts!

 

But that reminds me of another Klaserie encounter. At the time, our camp had an ordinary fence as might be found on any South African sheep farm. As I waked into the bathroom long after dark, something yellow and spotted exited between my legs! To this day I am not sure if it was a Serval or a Genet...

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my bots trip was in 1986, good to see that things have improved 

 

someone  took a flash photo  of a wandering hynea

 

the walk with a limp was approaching maneaters camp  Tsavo

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On 7/3/2017 at 4:04 AM, madaboutcheetah said:

Elephants charging game drive vehicles in Botswana right through the 2000s ........ 3 or 4 really full on charges in 2007 (on one particular game drive will never leave my memory) ....... I ended that particular game drive with a sun downer in camp where i was literally shaking!

 

@madaboutcheetah Yep, been in that situation a few times in the Linyanti in 1990's.

 

On 7/3/2017 at 7:19 AM, PCNW said:

Agree with @marg .......canoeing on a very small channel of the Zambezi river filled with pissy pods of hippos.......I would stare at my shoes, paddle furiously because if I didn't see them they wouldn't see me and that method worked......several mock charges but we made it through the gauntlet alive.  Thrilling and so beautiful but I was flat out scared at times.

 

@PCNW That is so scary. I know that all too well except I & paddling partner ended up on a hippos back.

 

 

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On foot I've been charged by lion, elephant & buffalo but the one time I thought I was dead was at Mana Pools in 1993. At the end of a day's paddling I'd just paddled onto the beach. Out of nowhere a buffalo charged and I had no where to go, I just sat there watching it coming straight at me. For some reason it turned when it was perhaps 2 metres away. Why I do not know and to this day I have a very healthy respect for buffalo.

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Posted (edited)

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I manage to remain calm

 

I am not really that concerned by animals charging vehicles

 

vehicle  gets stuck in grassed over aardvark hole, guide asks me to get out so he can use the jack, I do so and keep on photographing  the rhinos

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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8 minutes ago, Geoff said:

On foot I've been charged by lion, elephant & buffalo but the one time I thought I was dead was at Mana Pools in 1993. At the end of a day's paddling I'd just paddled onto the beach. Out of nowhere a buffalo charged and I had no where to go, I just sat there watching it coming straight at me. For some reason it turned when it was perhaps 2 metres away. Why I do not know and to this day I have a very healthy respect for buffalo.

 

That would certainly seem to be heart stopping @GeoffPerhaps it decided (?) it was unsure of what you were, sitting down, and the fact that you did not run. Discretion the better part of valour? 

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always follow your guides directions which will not be to run

 

you will never be fast enough to out run a charging animal

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9 hours ago, COSMIC RHINO said:

always follow your guides directions which will not be to run

 

you will never be fast enough to out run a charging animal

@COSMIC RHINO Are you quite sure about that advice 'not to run' being universal?

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All my briefings say never run

 

  I have never been around  a charging wild animal

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I have spent little time with professional guides, so am not in a position to comment on this with any authority.

 

However my understanding is that whilst you are correct in that you are unlikely to be able to outrun the animal, there are instances where running is the best option.  

 

For example if you find yourself between hippo and water and the hippo charges - move as far as possible away from its direct line to water.  With ele's, and based on the animals demeanour - head up, ears out and flapping, lots of noise - likely to be a mock charge, stand your ground; head down, ears folded flat - run!  I also believe there are occasions when running is the preferred option with buffalo (and I admit to having taken this approach a couple of times and have lived to type the tale!) 

 

There is also the old adage you don't need to be able to outrun the animal, just at least one of your companions.......

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A guide   told me that no one ,including a  MR U Bolt  could outrun an angry animal 

 

moving out of the way is a much better idea

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