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The Facts Behind the Recent Lion Attack In South Africa

By Saurabh Khetrapal | Updated September 11, 2018

The truth is that you are more likely to die in a car accident than to get mauled by a lion while on an African safari; but sadly, the recent visit by tourist Katherine Chappell to a Lion Park in South Africa, proved fatal.

Here are the facts as reported:

There is a large sign on entry to a Lion Park compound in South Africa stating that all windows must be closed. The windows of the tour operator’s vehicle were shut as they entered the enclosure.

While watching lions from the car, Katherine Chappell opened her window to take photographs. She wasn’t aware that a lioness had come right alongside the car. Tourists in another car could see the approaching danger and started hooting trying to get her attention, but it proved too late.

What can we learn from this?

There are no statistics on animal attacks while on safari because such attacks are just so rare and therefore have no statistical significance. Contrast this with road traffic deaths in USA which total around 37,000 each year, plus 2.3 million people injured in car accidents. So one ought to ask oneself: which is safer – driving a car or going on a safari?

If you are planning an African safari or are intrigued an adventurous experience in Africa, there are precautions that you ought to take – such as vaccinations and innoculations – but worrying about being attacked by an animal should not even be a consideration. The fact of the matter is that visitors to Africa are looked after every step of the way and are privy to some of the best rangers and guides in the world.

Like any adventure travel – whether that is skiing in Colorado or mountain climbing in the Alps or hiking in Lake Tahoe – there are common-sense practices one must be mindful of. So, here are a few basic rules to follow when you are on a safari in Africa:

  • Don’t stand up in the back of the game-viewing vehicle because predators see the vehicle as one entity and you don’t want to break that outline.
  • Don’t put your arms outside or lean out of the open-sided vehicle or car window.
  • Don’t raise your voice.
  • Don’t try and get an animal’s attention.
  • Ask your guide as many questions as you like.
  • Follow your guide’s instructions.

So, come and join us on a safe and rewarding African safari… it will be a memorable experience!

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