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Non Open Safari Vehicle

Hong Kong, China
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165 posts
98 reviews
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Non Open Safari Vehicle

Do any of the operators use non open safari vehicles at Chobe? I just want to feel safer.

I have the same question for Kruger in SA too.

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,634 posts
75 reviews
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1. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

I don;t think your safety is in anyway affected by the type of vehicle. I can be amazing to be close to wild animals, but I am not aware of any ocassions when they've entered a vehicle.

And I don't recall seeing any closed vehicles in those places, other than private cars.

You see them often in Kenya and Tanzania, where they must be enclosed if they drive on public roads.

USA
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701 posts
10 reviews
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2. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

The lodges, safari operators, and travel agents that send guests to Southern Africa do not want any problems. If open vehicles were not safe, they would not be used. Please don't be concerned about the open vehicles. To help put you at ease, you may wish to tell your guide up front that you are concerned about getting too close.

Try googling for accidents with open vehicles. Very rare. Your best bet if you are concerned about safety is to be sure to use responsible guides.

Then relax and have fun.

NYC
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30 posts
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3. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

They indeed have. In SA, in one of the best known private reserves in the Sabie Sands: a well known incident where a giraffe kicked some people in the vehicle where it was trying to escape hunting Lions. This is ofcourse, outside the norm and there is no need to panic!

Hong Kong, China
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165 posts
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4. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

I have reasons for my post. See below. We had friends whose jeep broke down right next to lions in Zambia recently too. Nothing happened but they said it was the scariest moment of their life. Apparently their guide was pretty scared too. They were stuck for an hour.

I myself have experienced a hairy moment with a tiger and rhino in Nepal. Hence, I'd prefer to be safer if the option is available.

http://www.thelocal.se/3619/20060422/

predatorconservation.com/Forum/viewtopic.php…

Stanley, Falkland...
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5. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

Well, those are not very good examples for using a closed vehicle, since the lion broke a window of one! An open or closed vehicle is not the issue - it's how it's used!

I also read there that it is believed that the lion was provoked by constant close attention of the vehicle. The desert lions in Namibia must be pretty unused to seeing vehicles (maybe a couple per year?) - imagine if lions in the Serengeti attacked nearby vehicles - it would be an everyday event.

This looks like a once in a blue moon event - extremely rare.

Thirdly, I also notice that the people in the back of the vehicles are breaking the outline of the vehicle. I was told that that should NEVER happen, as then lions might recognise the form of the person, and see it as prey (or as a predator. So it looks to me that this vehicle was probably too close, and the seating of clients was badly wrong. This may have contributed tothe lion's behaviour.

Certainly if lions attacked safari vehicles, it would be a well-known occurrence.

I have sat in a vehicle, watching puku in Botswana, oblivious to the fact that a pride of lions were behind our vehicle, using it as cover to stalk the antelopes. Only when we turned round to leave did we see the pride within 20 feet.

Any of the lions could have jumped on board, but they didn't. They don't know what a vehicle is - -it is not prey or a predator - so it ignores vehicles. UNLESS, the vehicle 'annoys' it greatly, or someone stands up and the vehicle now resembles Man - which most animals fear.

Your guide is much more vital to your safety than the vehicle.

My scariest encounter with elephants have always been with inexperienced guides who think it is great to approach them too closely, to give their clients a thrill. Despite telling to keep a distance, these guys think they have to show how well they know elephant behaviour.

I have not been surprised to read later that people have died at that same camp (in Namibia), after getting to close to a nursing herd.

By all means, insist on a closed vehicle, but please know that the vehicle won't help if you guide is an idiot.

On another trip to Botswana I heard about a guide getting stuck late afternoon, and being unable to get the vehicle out of the swamp. The party was benighted, as the guide had forgotten radios and guns, and couldn't risk walking about in the dark. In the morning they quickly found wood to put under the tyres and got away.

It sounds as if your friends in Zambia had a scare, but weren't in any danger. The guide did the right thing. On walking safaris in Zambia, I have walked behind a guide to within 100 yards of lions. The guy knew what he was doing.

In Tanzania last year, on a walk in the Selous, the ranger (with gun) was on his mobile phone half the time, and we walked unknowingly towards lions. The guy was stupid and endangered us.

No vehicles were involved on either walk.

Edited: 01 July 2010, 15:19
Stanley, Falkland...
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32,634 posts
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6. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

PS, I notice that a moderator on the Predator forum is Lise Hansenn.

That's probably the lady who runs a lion conservation project in Namibia (Afri-Leo?), and is in the family that runs Okonjima's Africat big cat rehabilitation programme.

It would probably be worth asking her how often lions attack vehicles.

Stanley, Falkland...
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32,634 posts
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7. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

Just read the Swedish story ---

Rule #1 - NEVER leave the vehicle, unless you are positive there are no predators around.

The article doesn't say whether the vehicle was open or closed, but again several mistakes were made there, and the type of vehicle was immaterial.

USA
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701 posts
10 reviews
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8. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

Just wanted to thank you Peterscot for your account of the pride in Kafue using the vehicle to aid in their puku hunting. It brought back fond memories.

If an open vehicle would detract from your experience, then seeking out a closed one is a good move.

9. Re: Non Open Safari Vehicle

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