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Dangerous out of car?

Nashville, Tennessee
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Dangerous out of car?

I have been reading in another forum about a guide that was mauled to death by a buffalo. I know this was a freakishly unusual accident. However, how risky is it to stop and get out of the car to take a picture (landscape, plants, trees, family). I think there are rules in Etosha, but what about other areas. When we are traveling from Windhoek to Swak, then up to grootberg and Kipwe. AGain as we travel out of etosha back to Frans indongo and then to windhoek.

How realistic is the danger from animals (predators, rhino, elephants) if there are none present when we stop? Likely to be stalked? Worry about "fog appearing on the camera lens" from a nearby predator that snuck up on us? (to rephrase one of my favorite posters recently...)

Is it basically use common sense? Or in some areas do not get out of car, no matter what.

What about emergency pit stops in the park (bathroom breaks). Is it like other areas of africa and just find a good tree and squat, or for safety reason, no way?

Hanau, Germany
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1. Re: Dangerous out of car?

I Etosha there are fenced in rest rooms what I've read, out of Etosha it shouldn't be a problem, one can be on the look out while the other takes

pictures.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Dangerous out of car?

Hi Stephen,

Etosha.

You've seen my pictures. Just be careful.

Comfort stops are taken in the secure gated areas. Several marked on the maps. I did see some lions parked just by a gate to one facility this last trip. Be careful.

Outside the NP? Well folks are often walking in the road. Just be careful again. Along most main roads there are off road Picnic Areas. Some nice some not so nice. None are fenced. Just a shady tree and benches set back in a loop of the road.

There are warning triangle signs like "Deer Crossing" ones you will be used to at home. The ones in Nambia show Lion, Elephant, Kudu and Warthog. Be aware of them but there is no real risk in daylight.

To your specific route. Windhoek to Swak. There have been cases of Cheetah being run down on that road so they are around.So are antelope and goats.

but I am talking road accident here, not attacks.

In Damaraland you may be lucky enough to see Kudu, Giraffe and even Elephant from the car. Certainly Dik Dik and Steenbock etc., Again common sense applies. Ellies will demand right of way so stay back and let them cross peacefully. If you are far enough back then no harm in stepping out but the best pictures will be from closer to, through an open window.

Family groups will normally cross with a large female first, who will stand mid road like a crossing warden, then the little ones and nursing mums, Coming along at the rear will be another adult. The Warden will then most likely shake her head at you and then wheel round and move on. Drive on when she is well clear of the road and facing away. If she stays put, so should you, there may be a recalcitrant youngster still to cross that you have not seen.

As you say it is common sense.

Whatever you do do not allow your pax to stand on the roof or hood for a better view if there is wildlife around. How do you drive off quickly if you have to?

Does this help? (I was only teasing the Australian girl about the Welwitschia.)

Nashville, Tennessee
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3. Re: Dangerous out of car?

I knew the tease from the Welwitschia.

It sounds like staying close to road for pictures should be fine with common sense. I know something could happen anywhere (here in america as well) but common sense seems to protect in most situations.

Outside of the park, it would be highly unlikely to have a predator waiting around for someone to stop and pounce? I guess distance and precaution with most big animals applies. Also, a lookout wouldn't hurt either. I was most worried with my 2 daughters (age 9 and 12 during travel) that they might look like a "young prey" to a predator.

Sounds like the elephant always has the rigth of way...

Also sounds like traveling at night would be foolish if it can be avoided.

Do I need to worry about 2 legged predators in the picnic areas during the day? They might scare me more than the 4 legged type....

Walvis Bay, Namibia
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4. Re: Dangerous out of car?

I am a born and bred Namibian and stay here a long time.

In Etosha, don't leave your car - by the way you are not allowed to do that. Only use the fenced utilities. Outside Etosha, there are no real animal danger to get out of your car, except when you see ellies crossing the road in Damaraland. Do not drive at night. Your vehicles headlights blind the antilope, especially the Kudu, and they jump into your car. We have lots of those type of serious accidents at night.

Like anywhere else in the world, use your common sense, especially with regard to 2 legged animals. Don't leave your vehicle anyware unattended with valuables lying on the seats. These animals like cellphones, cameras and binoculars, especially the newest models. Rather hide all valuables away, not to attract attention.

When out in the country, drive untill you are far away from any development before you stop for nature, but just know, that you are vulnerable on your own. When any caracters approach, rather drive off.

Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: Dangerous out of car?

By and large Kuiseb is correct. No night travel. You are not insured anyway!

No valuable left visible in your car. Lock em in the boot, back of Bakkie or wherever.

Scary bit comng.

Yes! I do think there is a case that youngsters may look like easy pickings for a Cat. Just take care when they are around the car and no hanging out of windows etc.,

Not sure I would 'drive off' on the approach of locals. Sometimes you can't.

5 young lads fixed my spare wheel for me on Christmas day. Same in ZA in June. Maybe I was lucky? I am streetwise enough to spot "trouble" coming but out in the country I never have found it. I give lifts to hitchiking folks but do be careful about this. Sometimes there are more would be pax in the bush than the car will hold! You are Ok as you don't have much room to offer.

I like to give lifts as it seems all wrong to pass folks 100kms from anywhere IF I have room.

Brisbane
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6. Re: Dangerous out of car?

Lol mfuwe - and I was only teasing about dropbears too! :)

Nashville, Tennessee
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7. Re: Dangerous out of car?

Our plans are to not do any driving at night. As mfuwe says, our insurance will not cover us.

I don't think we have more than 2 days where there is more than about 3 hours of total driving, so I was hoping on some of the drives we could take it easy and make some stops. Perhaps do some local shopping. Do some landscape photography. Trees and plants and the such.

I have fairly good street smarts, but always worry since my daughters will be with us. We should have plenty of eyes on the look out for 4 legged predators and hopefully just common sense about the 2 legged ones.

Thanks for the advice everyone.

Stanley, Falkland...
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8. Re: Dangerous out of car?

My wife once wanted a pit stop between Swakopmund and Windhoek on a back road.

After a few hours, we saw a tree A tree! Shade!

So I pulled over and she went about her business in the shade, confident no living thing was within hundreds of miles....

When suddenly she heard a hissing sound from behind her. Just the sort of sound that a horned adder might make when someone had encroached on its comfy spot in the shade.

Well, ablutions forgotten, we found said adder and it was TINY. Angry, but tiny,. So we took a photo, (which only served to show its brilliant camouflage) and we drove on....

You'll be fine.

Nashville, Tennessee
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9. Re: Dangerous out of car?

Peter-

I won't let my wife read that post. Said adder would have her just deciding to do her business IN THE CAR.....

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: Dangerous out of car?

And do please note. Horned Vipers and Puff adders etc., can kill almost straight after hatching. During a stay at oneLodge I use some "white kids" brought me a jar with a tiny Viper in it which they had just picked up and put in the jar to show "Mom!" I did not like to think what may have happened.)

(I took it off em and after a while let it go again out of their sight.)

Don't show Mrs Stephen this one either and do lecture your kids not to pick anything up. Look and admire from a distance or better still send for Pop!