Most thrilling or scariest safari moment

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Dec 10th, 2006, 12:44 PM
  #21
 
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Yes eyelaser, it was terrifying when it happened but alls well that ends well and now I know it's one of those stories I will be telling for a long time to come

Imelda
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Dec 11th, 2006, 07:53 AM
  #22
 
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Hi Guys
A really nice and entertaining thread and I have enjoyed reading it. Of course in my years I have had more than my fair share of close encounters but one will always stick in my mind forever as it nearly cost me my life.
It was back in the late 90s and I was privilaged to have been given 2 nights at a very upmarket lodge for my birthday and I will refrain from naming the lodge as I do hold the ranger responsible for this. Being my birthday I had had a few drinks with everyone prior to our night drive and was then given a bottle of Sambucca as a present to take on the drive. Well, let me state it right now that if you are going on drive and you have had a few drinks it is inevitable who are going to want to stop and 'mark your territory'. Well this did happen to me and I kept on asking the ranger to stop but unforunately we had this very arogant and obnoxious old couple on the vehicle with us, who were not hearing anything of this request of mine and insisted on carrying on to see as much as possible as it was their first and probably last safari as today I preume they have left this world. Anyway we carried on bumping along in the landrover which did nothing to alleviate my bladder pains yelling out in pain and I really asked the ranger to STOP so that I could releive myself. We had just spent about 15 minutes looking at Kudu, how exciting!!, for me that is guys,, and now it is already very dark and we have not yet stopped for sundowners. So the ranger says to me "Ok Mark I am going to find a place to stop for sundowners" and I say "TG" So off we go and low and behold we come across a leopard and the ranger turns around to me and says "Mark, here is your birthday present". WOW!, everyone knows how I love leopards but my bladder is having none of it. I, for a few moments are so excited that I take a few dozen pics and then Mr Bladder intervenes against my wishes and I tell the ranger that I am about to burst. OK, he says and tells us we are going to stop about 300 or so metres away. TG and I start to put my camera equipment back into my bag which is lying on the seat between me and Celeste using a little maglite when he does stop as promised. By this time I am starting to understand about labour pains and I jump out of the vehicle to 'mark my territory', but right in the front of a male buffalo "daggaboy". I swear to this that the ranger did not say a thing that we were stopping to see a bufallo but the odd couple in front wanted a photograph.
I can still see it so clearly in my mind as I write this. I landed on my feet 6 feet from this brute who got as much as a fright as I did and he immeadiatly put down his head and stomped the ground about to charge me. Celeste yelled at me and to this day I do not know how I got back into that vehicle so fast but the image is so imprinted on my mind that I will take it to the grave with me and I blame the ranger hence I will not let the name of the lodge nor the ranger out.
God was with me that day and I am thankful.
Mark
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Dec 11th, 2006, 08:02 AM
  #23
 
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The road from the Ngorongoro Serena into the Crater. Very frightening.

Hiking through the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda and nearly sliding down into a gully... several times

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Dec 11th, 2006, 09:06 AM
  #24
 
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Mark - great story. You didn't say though, if you marked your territory right then inadvertantly, in front of the buff. or not

Some other hair raising encounters here as well - good thread. Wish (or maybe not) I could contribute. Our safari was only about looking rather than being engaged to the wildlife. Perhaps I'll bring back some good ones from Bots.
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Dec 11th, 2006, 09:54 AM
  #25
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Marks story reminded me of my last trip to Kwando Lebala in July.
We were doing a full day trip up north and had been watching a lion pride in the morning. We left them sleeping for the day. When we returned in the late afternoon they had left their spot and according to the tracks, they were heading towards the water, where there were a large herd of Buffalo. I decided that it was a good time for a toilet break and asked the guide if I could go. He (and the tracker and I) looked around and said ok. Both the tracker and I left the vehicle to do our business. I went 10 m behind the vehicle and the tracker went to the left. Just as I finished the guide called me in a soft voice and asked me to get back in the vehicle. Only then did I see the lions sticking their heads up of the semi tall grass looking curiously at me from a distance of app 20m. It did not take me long to get back in the vehicle.

Michael
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Dec 11th, 2006, 10:01 AM
  #26
 
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Some great tales. Cybor,I actually hope you don't bring back any tales for this thread. At least not the scariest moment category. Thrilling is fine. I'd just as soon avoid any more scary incidents as well.
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Dec 11th, 2006, 03:03 PM
  #27
 
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I am planning my first safari for next september. Last night I had my first dream about the trip. In it, I was eaten by a small hyena. I am done reading this particular thread!!
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Dec 11th, 2006, 03:24 PM
  #28
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You are not supposed to start your Lariam till 1 week before safari
Eric
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Dec 11th, 2006, 03:27 PM
  #29
 
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Not 1 year? No wonder my health plan wouldn't cover it.
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Dec 11th, 2006, 04:42 PM
  #30
 
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my scariest moment besides the elephant encounter on my last trip also involved an elephant. it was our first trip to Africa, our first day at the lodge, after our first game drive in the morning, walking back to the chalet, talking and looking down for snakes on the path, came around a bend near chalet #2 and there was an elephant in the middle of the path. I remembered not to run and something about taking off your shirt and throwing it the other way. We decided we would sneak over to chalet #1 if he saw us. I took off my shirt just in case, we watched for a bit, waiting for him to see us, but then the elephant ambled off towards chalet #3 (ours), so I put my shirt back on and went the back way to the chalet. thrilling and scary!
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Dec 11th, 2006, 05:17 PM
  #31
 
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Dennis,

When you actually take action in response to the "threat" it seems even more scary. The realism sets in and you realize it is not just your imagination, you need to get prepared. Somehow self-preservation instincts kick in. For you taking off your shirt was the logical survival response. For me when I heard machine guns in the night, I put on my boots--even before my pants--in case I had to flee immediately. I figured I needed boots to run, but pants were optional and no one would care about my long underwear.
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Dec 11th, 2006, 05:44 PM
  #32
 
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so true Lynn! I was prepared to get trampled! Funny though, at the next camp, Chongwe, there were so many elephants in camp, on the paths and near the tents, they didn't affect me like the first one...just waited and then walked on by. (except for the one watching me shower, which scared the crap out of me) I got a bit complacent...stupid now that I think of it, but everyone there was that way. It wasn't until my face to face encounter in Zim that my fear returned.
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Dec 11th, 2006, 06:34 PM
  #33
 
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It's quite interesting how emotions can differ, depending on place and circumstances. On my first safari many moons ago, I went on a canoe voyage a little upstream from Victoria Falls. My guide ran the canoe on to the shore of an island, just a few metres below a grazing elephant in thick reeds. We were close enough for a gentle flick of the elephant's trunk to spray my jeans with a few drops of muddy water. It was by no means a scary incident, just a thrilling one, my first close-up encounter with an elephant in the wild. Yet, a few days later, near Xigera in the delta, I remember feeling quite anxious when a family group of elephants came almost close enough to our vehicle to touch. I don't know why I was anxious. I've had far more "interesting" sightings of elephants since then.

A year later, in Samburu NR, Kenya, our guide parked our vehicle on the bank of the Ewaso Nyiro for breakfast. I wandered around the shore with my camera while he set the folding table. Suddenly, a matriarch and her calf appeared on the trail behind the vehicle at the head of a small herd of elephants. They were heading to the water, but we were blocking the way, and the matriarch was visibly upset. I warned the guide, who hastily told another client to get back in the vehicle while I took a couple of photos without even thinking about what I was doing. I continued taking photos as the herd found a way around us (one of the first two pics I took turned out to be among the best safari shots I think I've ever taken, and is on my website). I didn't feel nervous on this occasion, just awed. At the time I didn't know the elephants of Samburu were generally regarded as very habituated and relaxed, and easy to be close to. I'm sure I would be quite anxious if I found myself in a similar position with a breeding herd in northern Botswana.

John
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Dec 11th, 2006, 06:46 PM
  #34
santharamhari
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You got that right, John......in Northern Botswana, every time i need to make a pit stop i check 5-10 times before even getting off the vehicle. Those ellies are scary.....

During our safari at Kwando in 2005...(we were a party of 4)and one of the members didnt get out of the vehicle the entire 10 days. Finally, on the last day she had to use the bush......barely a moment after she gets back into the car, active lions around the corner!!!

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Dec 11th, 2006, 09:17 PM
  #35
 
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Hari,

The 'pit-stop' kind of incident must have happened many, many times...and to a few Fodorites, too. I think I've told this story before, but in case I haven't: at Selinda in 2000, we made a pit-stop on a palm island after the guide checked around to make sure it was safe. All the men went to the right of the vehicle, and the only woman, my wife therefore would have gone to the left if she had needed to. She didn't, so she waited in the vehicle. Another guide some distance off checked our stopped vehicle with his binoculars in case we'd made a sighting. He panned to the left and saw a lioness resting under a bush. He had quite a chuckle at our guide's expense that night.

John
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Dec 12th, 2006, 07:01 AM
  #36
 
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My most thrilling moment was with some elephants in Mala Mala. Some days before I went there (it would be my first safari) I saw the movie of my sisters trip to Mala Mala when an elephant attacked their vehicle. They told me that the elephant was the only animal that would attack the vehicle, and normally female elephants with cubs would do that. And they also told me that before they attack they would move their ears, so the ranger would know they would attack and could run away...
When we were there we saw a group of 10-20 elephants with cubs, and the ranger got closer with the back of the vehicle in the middle of the bush so we could see them closer, and get out if any of them got angry.... But our vehicle got stuck just a few meters from them, and at that time I remembered my sister's movie..... The first few minutes were the longest of my life, the elephants stayed a few minutes close to us, and everytime they moved their ears I thought they would attack us. After a few minutes they went away, but we had to stay there for more than half an hour till the ranger could get us out of there...
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Dec 12th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #37
 
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Most thrilling: being on a side track in Maasai Mara, noticing a group of giraffe demonstrating strange behavior. And then observing that one young female was in labor. We sat quiet and still for several hours, never bothered by any other vehicle, about 25 to 75 metres from her.

The behaviour of the group and the birth itself were absolutely awesome.
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Dec 12th, 2006, 07:57 AM
  #38
 
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Hi Guys
Here is a moment that for me was very touching. It happened this past January on my birthday when I entered the Kruger Park at Phabeni gate. 11kms on I approached the Nyamundwa Dam and before I even had switched the car off a pride of lions attacked an Impala on the far bank. The next second two Hippos exploded out of the water and chased the lions off and then the one hippo actually took the mortally injured impala in her jaws and tried to get it to stand up. I was totally amazed and I have seen this behaviour on film which I beleive was by Dick Reaucassel. I actually do have it somewhere in my video collection, but I never thought that I would actually see it live. It truly was an amazing moment and it all happened so quickly I did not have a chance to film it which I regret. But none-the-less I have it imprinted in my mind. We all know that the bush is a cruel and tough place but there is also some compassion out there between the animals.
Mark
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