Guns on Game Drives/Moremi Botswana

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Jun 20th, 2005, 01:46 PM
  #1
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Guns on Game Drives/Moremi Botswana

Somewhat relevant to the discussion going on in the thread about walking safari safety (v. interesting, by the way) I notice that the literature about Mombo Camp points out that walking safaris are not really avialable and says "Please note: no guns are allowed in the reserve"

Does this hold true for game drives as well? One would think no guns means no guns. So, do they bring along guns on game drives at Mombo? And if not...shouldn't they?
Mike14c is offline  
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Jun 20th, 2005, 07:22 PM
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Mike: Our guides at various camps in Botswana have told us it is illegal for them to have guns in the vehicles for game drives. Kwetsane, Little Vumbura and Chitabe are outside of National Parks. However, when we went on a walking safari one afternoon, our guide did bring a rifle for protection. You raise a good point about the necessity of a rifle. I felt safer when on safari in South Africa, where the rifle is perched up on the dash!
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Jun 20th, 2005, 07:32 PM
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As I recall there were no guns at Mombo or in any safari vehicle I've been in.

The only time we've driven with a gun was when we were driving to a spot where we'd begin walking. The gun was for the walk.

While tracking rhino on foot in Matoba Hills, Zimbabwe the guides were not allowed to carry guns, just big curved sticks.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 09:37 PM
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On our recent 10 day safari in Botswana only one of our guides carried a rifle.
It is my understanding that there are levels of accreditation for guiding in Botswana. Those guides who are certified to carry a firearm must write an exam and also pass a field test. This is the highest level of accreditation and can take up to five years to get.
In addition, guides in National Parks and Reserves such as the Moremi (where Mombo and Chief's Camp are located) are not allowed to carry firearms, can not do night drives or bush walks. National Parks and Reserves fall under different rules than private concessions.
Guides are trained to recognize animal behaviors that indicate if a situation is "safe" for the guests or if the animals are stressed. Based on the behaviors exhibited the guide needs to make the appropriate decisions as to whether they should move on or stop and observe.

We were able to do bush walks and a sleep out at a remote hide at two of the camps we stayed at as they were in private concessions. In addition, this was requested in advance so that we were given a guide who was certified to carry a gun.
Our guide was very specific about safety and educating us as to why certain protocols needed to be followed. He also shared with us two unfortunate incidents that resulted in the deaths of a staff person and a guest. This was not done to scare us but to drive home a point which is that NO ONE can afford to become complacent in the bush. The animals are wild and once we are in their territory we become prey. It is a simple fact that is easy to forget and unfortunately some people either refuse to believe it or just don't get it!
I felt safe at all of the lodges we stayed at and heeded the advice that was given to us religiously.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 06:08 AM
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Very interesting.

Since my only previsous safari experience has been in South Africa, where riffles on dashboards are de rigeur, I have been somewhat conditioned to the (probably false) sense of security the always unused and untouched riffle brings.

We all know that animal attacks are rare, and in almost every instance the cause is human, not animal. But statistic are irrelevant if you are the exception!

I think ideally there would be standards -- preferably cross nationally -- on guide training, accredidation and safety measures, including the carrying and use of firearms. That way the visitor could be assured of some consistancy from park to park, country to country in terms of methods of managing human/wildlife interaction.
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Jun 21st, 2005, 06:29 AM
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None of the guides we were with in Botswana carried guns on drives.

Speaking of behavior while on game drives, I agree with Brenda that it's really important to follow the guides' direction. One of the things all of them tell you is not to stand up in a vehicle. When we were watching a female lion eat a baboon on a Duma Tau night drive, one of the guests stood up to take a better photo. The lioness looked up, snarled at us, and started forward. Given that it was on my side of the truck and we were very close, I found the whole thing quite frightening. I doubt we were
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Jun 21st, 2005, 06:30 AM
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Sorry... I doubt we were in any real danger, but it was the only time on the whole trip I was scared.
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