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Have you ever been scared on Safari??

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Posted (edited)

I would repectfully suggested that very much depends on the animal. 

 

Angry aardvard, hyrax with he hump or pissed-off porcupine, my money is on Usain.  

Edited by Whyone?
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On 7/5/2017 at 3:37 AM, COSMIC RHINO said:

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

 

Was that guide at Lewa @COSMIC RHINO?     Because I heard that Usain Bolt visited Lewa on a Kenya safari a few years ago.   Everyone said he was very down-to-earth and easygoing.

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All of these stories are making me think twice about doing walking safaris on my upcoming Zambia trip :o I've never really been scared on safari..yet...but these stories are scaring me!!

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@janzin Don't be...walks are awesome. This is what I always tell myself.....it is not good PR for anything bad to happen to a tourist so they will always do everything they can to keep you safe. And the other thing is if you ever feel uncomfortable doing something, just tell them. I've done that before too- we were tracking a very sick elephant that was also being tracked by a lion (or two). I totally wussed out after hearing the cries of the elephant (and could smell it's sickness) and heard the growls of the lion....that was it for me. They walked me back to the jeep, got someone to take me back to camp and went on their merry way tracking the horror show. Everyone was happy, though maybe not the elephant. Yup- I was a weeinie. And proud of it :)

 

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@janzin - I've only done one walking safari and that was only last year ......... I loved every minute of the walking.  I am sure you are going to love it ...... 

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@janzin walking safaris, especially in Zambia are wonderful!  I've only done two, so am certainly no expert, but I felt very well taken care of and the second walk was a real trip highlight.  It was just me with a ranger and guide in front, and a tea bearer behind.  Ive never experienced anything like it.

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Thanks for the reassurances. I'm sure it will be fantastic, I'll just try not to think about the stories from this post! :D

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Posted (edited)

@janzin I think the main danger of walking is that it will make you very reluctant to go back to viewing the wonders of the African bush from the confines of a vehicle.

Edited by Whyone?
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Posted (edited)

A guide in Sth Africa who was talking about setting up his own foot safari walking operation mention that no one could out run an angry  wild animal

 

people don't always follow their own advice , When I was in the vehicle and he and the tracker were out on foot  to find black rhino , they got far too close,  and got away pronto before being noticed

 

I enjoy both game  drives and foot safaris

 

now  if mr U Bolt wanted a new challenge he could try the Lewa marathon at altitude ,on rough bush paths and a long distance run for a sprinter

Edited by COSMIC RHINO

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Story time! 

 

Our first " bush job" was taking pictures and shooting wildlife footage, to be used on social media by the marketing company of the lodges where we were at (two sister lodges close to each other). We only got to guide or manage when the regular guides and/or managers were on leave.

 

Our vehicle was a typical Land Rover adapted for game viewing with customers, but it had no roof and no doors. We got to go out whenever we wanted, as long as we wanted. It was a wild time, in more than one way.

 

Then our boss tells us he wants special footage and he's hired a company with a beetle cam (a rock on wheels with a camera inside, you can guide it close to the animals and get awesome ground-level footage). My wife is doing relief management, so I take these two gentlemen on a game drive, in search of lions. 

 

At that time we had some lions that were often seen on our farms; two lionesses that were very used to vehicles, and a coalition of three males, called "the Trilogy". They didn't have individual names, as the lodge owners didn't like that. But I often referred to them as Limpy (was limping, since birth apparently), Beauty (scored all the ehm... pussy) and Grumpy (very aggressive, growled if you drove too close to him).

 

So I'm looking for the lionesses, find tracks, track them down, and what I find is one of the lionesses mating with one of the Trilogy boys. Just my luck; for once it isn't Beauty but Grumpy who is mating with a female. I keep my distance and radio our guides and the guides of the other lodges that share the same "traverse". Paying customers got priority! Besides, I got time enough. When lions mate they don't move much, and go at it on average every 15 minutes, for about three days. Guess you all know that. Two vehicles rock up, so I hang back. A queue forms (on the radio), and when one vehicle leaves another takes it's place. There's a 2-vehicle maximum for any sighting. But I guess you know that too. :lol:

 

Finally all vehicles have seen the lions and when everyone drives back to their lodge for breakfast, I approach them again. They are in the middle of the road (or rather; a two-track), so I park about 25m away, in the grass. As I switch off my engine, the lioness gets up, which is the males clue to try and mount her. But this lioness is very used to us, so she walks straight towards my side of the car. At about 5m away from me, she flops down and he mounts her. Mating takes only 15 seconds or so, and when done she gets up from underneath him, and has a post-coital roll in the grass, now 3m away from my (absent) door. 

 

The whole time the male has only had eyes for his female, but now he sees the car, and we are way too close for his comfort. He's not growling yet, but he's making an angry face. And his tail is thrashing around wildly. The guy next to me (who has done a lot of work for BBC and NatGeo) loses his nerves and mumbles "dude, I don't like this". So I mumble back; "neither do I but if I start my engine now, he's going to come flying..."

 

We sit still for a bit, and the male relaxes. His tail is still flopping around a bit, but he sits down. And a bit later he lays down, paws in front, like a sfinx. We all let go of a sigh of relief. Time to move the car to a safer spot and start filming with the beetle cam. But just as we relax, the guy in the back with the beetle cam on his lap, whom we hadn't heard in the last 10 minutes, let's go of the loudest sneeze I've ever heard.

WRAAAAAGHTSCHOEM!

 

Immediately the female gets up and runs off, and the male gets up as well and charges me. No time to turn my ignition key (let alone find it). All I can do, as he comes towards me, growling loudly, is wave my hands in the air and shout back as loud as I can. This is part of our training; any animal's first instinct is not to attack you. It is life preservation. So if you do anything that animal does not suspect, it will rather run away. 

 

The male and I are face to face for a short second, and then he does run away, but not because of my shouting. Rather just because he sees his female run off and wants to stay with her. I look down. His spit is on my shoe.

 

TL;DR Had shouting match with angry male lion. Won (sorta).

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OMG- this is a crazy story. The spit on the shoe did it for me. I will admit, I'm laughing, but I'm sure I would not be doing that if I'd been there. You waving at an angry lion and my one experience of rangers throwing rocks and waving at a freaked out rhino and her calf to distract her as she charged. Wow...never to be forgotten. Africa is a seriously beautiful, crazy and sometimes, scary, place. I can hardly wait to go back!!

 

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Whether or not you are scared depends heavily on your level of safari experience.  On my first safaris when a big cat was walking or sitting alongside the vehicle or a young elephant was showing off close to it, I must admit it was sending me a shiver down the spine.  Now, this kind of situation leaves me cold.

 

Most of the more or less “frightening” experiences, I had, were between 1996 and 2006.  I only remember one, after that period.  It was at Lebala, the vehicle was several times, without warning, really charged, matriarch at the head and trumpeting, by the same herd of elephants which was probably originating from a hunting concession.  I still hear Spencer exclaiming "wow, the crazy herd, let's get out of it".

 

The mock charges, whether coming from elephants, hippos or big cats, undergone by the vehicles in which I was, at the beginning were also destabilizing, especially those of big cats.  The vehicle I was in was twice charged by a leopard and once by a male lion that did not tolerate voyeurs during its lovemaking.  It is well to know that these are mock charges, they are nonetheless frightening by the expression and the terrifying grimaces of anger displayed by the face of the feline, that make think that a rabid demon is swooping on you at great speed.

 

But on some occasions, I was really frightened.  

 

To be continued…

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I have been mock charged various times by elephants but I can't claim that I was ever really scared. I do however have to say that there was one occasion 6 years ago in South Luangawa National Park on my first trip there when the matriarch leading a herd of 10 or 11 other elephants charged our vehicle without making any prior warning. Fortunately Stephnan Banda our guide quickly gunned the engine and didn't stop until we were well out of sight of the small herd. Stephen said that the matriiarch was old enough to remember the horrendous poaching which had occurred  in both South Luangwa and North Luangwa National Parks in 1980s. That is why she hated humans so much. 

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@optig

 

Stephen Banda, was it at Tafika?

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mock charges can be dangerous if you don't know what is real or not

 

in 1986 in Meru  park Kenya ,talking about things later in camp , the people who had previous done a self drive trip said that they would have driven towards the mother elephant at speed

 

the guide commented that this would have been dangerous  

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More than twenty years ago, I was, in Selous, at Mbuyuni Camp, the ancestor of the present Siwandu, who was, at the time, along the Rufiji.  Here we went on an excursion on the river and watching the birds in the reeds, when suddenly, a few meters from the boat, leaping out of the water, with great splashing, a furious hippo starts to charge the boat.  The guide instantly realized that it was not a mock charge and straight away stepped on the gas all the way.  Nevertheless, the hippo began to pursue the boat in a continuous and alternate succession of leaps and dives, a little like a butterfly swimmer.  It was really scary, you could read in its eyes and on its face all the rage that lived in it.  What was also impressive was the speed at which this mass of more than a ton and a half moved despite the resistance of the water.  After that, I vowed never to go on the water on an embarkation without a powerful engine.

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On 7/15/2017 at 0:41 AM, lmonmm said:

OMG- this is a crazy story. The spit on the shoe did it for me. I will admit, I'm laughing, but I'm sure I would not be doing that if I'd been there. 

 

I can tell you what I did. I drove back to the lodge and called it a day. The guy next to me felt the same way. And the guy who sneezed bought us a bottle of whiskey. Which we downed before it was noon. And then we bought a second one.

 

Also; on the way back to camp my back started hurting. Never had that before. I could barely move, or turn my steering wheel. It subsided a bit as I rolled into camp. I looked it up on the web. It was my adrenaline glands releasing too much adrenaline for my kidneys to handle.

 

 

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Another “frightening story”

 

Fifteen years ago, I was in the private reserve of Welgevonden in South Africa. During a game drive, we came across a female white rhino and its calf.  At first everything went well, they seemed to have accepted us.  Our vehicle was a traditional safari vehicle with no roof and no doors.  I was sitting in front, next to the driver-guide.  After a while, the mother positioned itself, not really facing the vehicle but at eleven o'clock, and charged.  Afterwards, I realized that clearly the goal was not to touch the vehicle, but at the time, I was very far from understanding it.  The first charge surprised me and I saw the horn pass very close to my left arm.  The rhino continued its way by forming a loop to find itself at its starting point and charged again.  This time, I had not waited for it to again hug the vehicle to move as far as possible to the right of my seat.  The animal charged again several times before joining its calf which, on the side, had witnessed the whole scene without moving.  Throughout the multiple charges, the guide remained standing on his seat, screaming and hitting the vehicle's hood with a blanket to try to scare the animal. 

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after reading all the "scary stories" I realised one had happened on one of our trips, but didn't directly involve us. 

 

we were in South Luangwa and leopards are famed in that park. Patrick from Kaingo was driving my OH and I on a lengthy drive to catch a boat to cross to tafika. On the way there, we passed a Lion Camp's vehicle and the guide said they had seen a male leopard but it had vanished into the bushes. The vehicle then left in the opposite direction. Patrick, on one his amazing hunches, took a bet that the leopard, famed for his grumpiness, would emerge and Patrick chose to stop a short distance from a lovely tree by the side of a dry riverbed. sure enough, the leopard crept into the dry riverbed and came up to the tree. he snarled and hesitated on seeing us. we kept very silent and very still, just stealing a couple of photos here and there. then still snarling he started to climb the tree. Just when we thought we would get him to stay up and relax, he looked beyond us and started snarling and ran down the tree,hiding just behind the tree, on the riverbed, out of our sight. The lions camp vehicle had returned and seeing us at the tree, guessed that we were watching the leopard. the vehicle made its way into the riverbed but even before it could get into the river, a mighty growl was emitted as the leopard ran out and charged the vehicle, whcih had suddenly stopped. as the leopard charged with a series of angry growls, all we could we do was watched with our jaws dropped open. at the very  last minute the leopard swerved to the side of the vehicle and vanished into the bushes. when we drove up to the vehicle, the guide looked ashen and white but some of the guests were grinning, unaware of the danger they were in. Patrick himself was stunned. that was one seriously angry leopard.

 

 

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That story from @Kitsafari reminds me ........ in October 2009 in the height of the dry season in Northern Botswana, we were at a Leopard sighting ..... a big male named, "the magician" .......... We were parked fairly close to him on a termite mound.  Every time I would sip water from my plastic bottle - he would hiss at me!!!  Not sure what really was going on ..... True story!  Yes, I stopped my hydration requirements shortly after ;)

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Last of my “scary bush experiences”

 

I kept the best for the end.  This happened more than ten years ago at Lagoon, so before the last major changes made to the camp and tents.  At the time, the tents were already facing the lagoon.   Parallel to it, a trail ran along their back.  Their entrance, which was at the side, was accessible by a short small path.  Two elephants visited the camp daily, most often in the late morning, to revel in the fruits of a marula of which they are crazy.  Besides, they are not the only ones to be mad of some products derived from it.  The tree was located, and perhaps it is still there, near the common areas of the camp.  To get there, the elephants systematically entered the camp, taking the path along the tents row.  Once fed or not, they left in the opposite direction.  “Or not” because when they were present, when we came back from game drive, our guide, Charles Sebaka, chased them away, screaming and throwing stones at them while pursuing them.   

 

Well, now that the scenery is planted, the facts.  After lunch, I was going back to my tent, which was the last, when I saw, facing me, joyfully descend the path one of the two elephants.  It had obviously decided to deviate from its habits by coming alone and in the early afternoon.  I do not know if I can compare this situation to that of being between a hippo and water.  Still, I was between it and the fruits of the marula and it seemed determined not to turn back.  The closest place where I could take refuge was my tent but for that, I still had to make a few meters forward until I reached the small path leading to the entrance of it, and accordingly make the elephant move back.  So, I began to walk towards it, making great gestures and shouting as loudly as I could, which had the effect of making it retreat but not enough.  It stopped, perhaps because the fruits of the marula were very attractive but probably due to some hesitations on my part.  So, I started to gesticulate and shout again and again it slowly backed off and stopped.  This merry-go-round was repeated several times until, finally, I arrived gradually at the height of the little path.  I immediately rushed to the entrance of my tent and began to open the zipper.  The elephant was already at the beginning of the bifurcation running towards me.  I hastily finished the opening, literally dived inside and glimpsed and heard it pass in front of the entrance.  The terrain being sloping and carried away by its momentum, it almost took a forced bath in the lagoon but managed, at the last minute, to stop before.  After I got up, I watched it go up the slope.  I can’t remember where it went.  However, I guess it had to go to the marula.  Then I had to go for a nap.  After this, I prepared for the game drive and went out carefully, while looking meticulously around me but obviously it was no longer in the vicinity.

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Posted (edited)

A second hand 'scary story'.

 

A few years ago, whilst camping at Mana we visited the (unoccupied) exclusive camp at Mucheni 3 one afternoon with the intention of having a drink and watching the world go by.

 

As we approached, it was apparent that there was someone in camp...a bedraggled looking fellow with a small pile of sodden bags.  He turned out to have been guiding a 4 canoe group down the river which had been attacked by a disgruntled hippo.  The hippo had bitten down on the boat, its jaws closing across the legs of a female guest.  Extremely fortunately, this did no great harm to the lady, though inevitably, the occupants and contents of this boat ended up in the Zambezi.  In the melee which ensued, the other 3 canoes capsized, leaving every one and everything variously splashing, shouting and floating in the river.

 

The guide was quite convincing when he explained to us that this was not really ideal and had messed his day up somewhat.

 

The good news is, no-one was any the worse (physically at least!) for the experience.

Edited by Whyone?
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I don't have any really scary stories. Might be that I'm just too stupid to be scared... The closest was probably in Chobe. I wasn't very experienced with big wildlife back then. We were in a safari vehicle with a trailer on a narrow track, driving through a big herd of elephants. At one point there was an ele blocking the track, and then the herd started getting agitated - we apparently had come between mother and calf. A lot of noise and flapping of ears happening. I was quite "impressed" and didn't really think to take any pictures... Well, we couldn't really back up quickly on that track with the trailer, so the driver resorted to revving the engine and making some kangaroo jumps to make the elephant in front of us move out of the way. Which worked, after what seemed like quite a long time - more realistically it was over in a few seconds :)

 

Oh, I guess I should have been scared when we had an angry lioness in camp, too, but again it was over quite quickly. We were camping under the stars, the guide, assistant, and the two of us. Taking turn keeping the camp fire going through the night (is there anything as soothing as sitting alone at night listening to lions roaring?) "protected" by a ring of branches, this was a new camp site that hadn't been used before. I suppose the lions hadn't gotten used to having people there yet. Nothing exciting happened through the night, we got up before sunrise to have breakfast and get ready for another hot day of walking. The guide and the two of us left camp and got perhaps 50m when the camp hand whistled for us to return and could tell us there had been a lioness by the camp - just where we had done our "morning business". We followed her tracks down to the riverbed, but couldn't see her anywhere and went back to the camp. Where she was. She growled and ran off through the tall grass, while we got into the "protection" of our little fence and the guide tried to get between us and the lioness.

 

The camp hand later told us that the cat had suddenly appeared a couple of meters away from him, and he said it was a good thing he was already having a wee "or else I would have wet my pants".

 

I noticed that our guide changed his routine of sleeping with his rifle leaned up against a tree after that. The following two nights he had it next to him on the ground. So yes, I probably should have been more scared than I was.

 

Other than that, I have always felt perfectly safe on all our safaris, always feeling that our guides have been in complete control, even at those times when something big has come closer than intended.

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our vehicle was charged by a lone male cape buffalo at kicheche laikipia-pretty scary. it veered to the right a foot before impact.

 

we were on a walking safari at kicheche mara with our guide and armed ranger. suddenly came upon 3 big cape buffalo who kept coming towards us. we were told earlier if this happened to either climb a tree (not a tree in sight!) or lay flat. we were told to stay still and quiet. it took 2 cocks of the rangers rifle to get them to leave.

 

 

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A hippo didn´t want to let us pass with our canoe in Okavango. It attacked the canoe so we where very close to fell of. I was less than a meter from a gigantic hippohead. My heart was pumping 160 t/s but i took upp my camera to film the next attack. The hippo never let us pass so after a while we had to take the canoe out of water away from our camp.  That was the only time I was "a little" afraid. Lions, hyenas, honeybadgers outside the tent didn´t scare me because our guide from Botswana told me that if I am quiet it will not bee any problem an I trusted that guide 100% 

 

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