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Safari Urban Legends - The Lizard in the Tent and Other Bush Tails...


Aug 3rd, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Yes, this is the one.
I tried not to specify the operator...

What I most liked with that poor woman: she didn't heard on what her friends and relatives at home told her and didn't sue the operator.

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Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:02 PM
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Actually, she was divorced, and the husband sued the tour company. It ended up in appeals court, as the lower court sided with the ex-husband/father that he did not sign the release of liability for the son, and so he was entitled to sue. The appeals court just ruled (April or May of this year) that the travel company DID have a signed release of liability from a guardian, and dismissed the case against the US based travel company. My understanding is that the guide had already checked the boys (separate from Mothers) tent before he bedded down for the night. The boy unzipped the tent after that and ended up as dinner for the hyena. Suzic
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:43 PM
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Thank you for this update.

I really don't like these people who can't accept strokes of fate and always think someone must be responsible for their tragedy, being not satisfied until they have ruined someone other's life. Hopefully I never meet such people on safari and elsewhere.

Of course, this is a very personal opinion.

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Aug 3rd, 2005, 07:19 PM
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I agree with you Bwanamitch, especially in a country where you can sue McDonald's for serving coffee that is too hot! Thank God they are striking down all the obesity cases against the fast food business!
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Aug 3rd, 2005, 08:13 PM
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while visiting a camp in botswana we had a family that was all wearing indiana jones type hats with no chin strap. as u can imagine just as we pull up on our first leopard sighting, one of teh hats blows off. the youngster jumped out of the car (after his father told him to do so) and retrievd the hat. fortunately they were in the back right of the vehicle and the leopard was in front of the car on the left hand side. needless to say when the guide realized what was happening he scolding the kid and got him back in the car quickly. pretty unbelievable
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Aug 4th, 2005, 01:53 AM
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I am in total agreement... it's a topic of debate that I participate in often on various boards... including this one.
It bugs heck out of me that people don't take personal responsibility for their own actions and instead try to blame someone else for the consequences of their stupidity.
I tripped and fell whilst walking home from the local station in October, I split my lip very badly and broke a tooth off almost at the gum. I needed stitches, an emergency root canal and an artificial tooth made and fitted. I was gutted. But I was shocked too by how many people just said, oh you should sue the local council for damages. Had the pavement where I tripped been in an unacceptably poor state of repair, I might have requested money to cover the dental treatment but, given that the pavement was well maintained, I felt it was my own fault I tripped and no one else should have to pay for it. I even had one person suggest I find a different bit of pavement where there was a problem and pretend I fell there! (Suffice to say, I told them just what I thought of this idea!)
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Aug 4th, 2005, 03:09 AM
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This talk about suing made me remember something I heard in the Mara 2003 on my first trip to Africa: Some weeks earlier, an American lady who had been out on a walk came across some lions, panicked and started running. Before awakening the lionsí hunting instinct she was knocked down to the ground by the guide who threw his knobkerrie at her. She only got very minor injuries and wasnít eaten by lions, but she was suing the guide! I donít know what was the outcome.
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Aug 4th, 2005, 07:21 AM
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Unbelievable! This guide should get a big shiny medal of honor from the Dept. of Tourism and a nice fat check from the woman.
Perhaps we can file one of those amicus (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of the guide as seasoned safari travellers? Any lawyers among us?"
Makes you wonder what the other walkers did or said...I think an appropriate response would be "That guy saved your life. Don't even think about suing, or I'll get all the other travellers together, we'll testify that the guide did the only thing possible to save your life. And in fact, you were endangering everyone's life by your stupid actions."

Again, makes you wonder what a wildlife safari would look like in the US.
-Landrover with a plexiglass dome
-Mandatory seatbelts
-Camp walkways fully screened on sides and top by heavy gauge wire
-Tents with solid metal walls behind the canvas
-Campfires behind spark arresting screens....
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Aug 4th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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- Plastic Big-5s in case the real animals don't appear.
- Control walks at 22:00 to make sure all doors are closed.
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Aug 4th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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- All camp staff to have guns, not just the guides, hey, what the heck, visitors free to bring their guns too

- No BBQ boma meals or tea and cofee - a guest might get scalded/ burned

- An Anti-Bug Patrol Crew member in every tent

- Speed limit of 2 miles per hour - it doesn't matter WHAT has been spotted somewhere else, it'll be gone by the time we get there

- Cable TV in every tent

- Phones in every tent

OK I'm getting carried away here...

But I HAVE come across guests bemoaning the lack of phones and TV!!!
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Aug 4th, 2005, 08:08 AM
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I'm not quite sure what to expect in some of Botswana's camps in five years...
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Aug 4th, 2005, 09:09 PM
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I'm a bit worried about that, too (what might change in Botswana camps). Last year somebody I know wanted email access in the Linyanti. I told them to forget it, but I mightn't be able to say that in a few years. I was mortified when my stepson-in-law phoned home from the rim of the Ngorongoro crater (caldera, if you really want to be fussy). That was enough to put me off ever going there, despite the obvious other attractions. Still, I guess if you can phone from the summit of Everest, what hope have we got? I'm eagerly awaiting the next development from the Mara...kitty-litter trays on the roofs of safari vehicles.
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Aug 10th, 2005, 10:08 PM
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Gee Tasha and others, I'm sure you are kidding but your vision of Americans freaks me out. On my last safari it was the Brits who had the satellite phones and were annoyingly carrying on loud conversations around the main camp area. I don't think there are many wilderness areas with wildlife in the UK, but I can assure you that it's common practice for Americans to camp in our national parks among bears snakes cougars and whatnot without all the luxurious accessories you seem to imply that we need....places like Montana, Utah, Texas, Wisconsin, Alaska (and many other areas of the US) are still basically untamed and do not invoke safety rules as you suggest. I have been 'annoyed' by people from many countries during my travels and I truly believe it is due to their personalities and not their nationalites. Sorry - had to get that off my chest after reading the end of this post.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 03:49 AM
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It seems like we must have had the same group of Brits in one of our Botswana camps in June. One morning at brunch, I just had to leave the lounge area to get a little peace and quiet.
Then there was the European couple who insisted that all Americans were either filthy rich or dirt poor - still not sure which "class" my husband and I supposedly belong to.
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Aug 11th, 2005, 06:27 AM
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Lin, originally this part of the thread started with tales of travellers doing stupid things, then suing the operators when they had problems. One of these was American, and no one can dispute the fact that some people in the US turn litigious when the problem is their own stupidity. The US legal system makes this relatively easy.
So my question was: what would a safari look like in the US, given that companies would be so worried about being sued? However it then morphed into a discussion of super luxury camps in the bush.
I think you are correct about some wilderness areas in the US--I recall hiking at Yosemite along slippery wet rocks on the mist trail where a fall meant probably death. There were a few small warning signs posted to that effect, and that was the only warning. However the next day, when I went on a much safer horseback trail ride (really an easy trail walk) in the same park, I was presented with no less than 4 full pages of disclosures and waivers that I had to sign. Including such nonsense as:
"Horses are dangerous animals. Risks include, but are not limited to:
Horses can bite.
Horses can kick....Bites and kicks can result in serious injury, including death. There is a risk from the horse that you are riding and from the horses that other riders are riding. The operator shall not be liable for horselike behavior of the horses" and other such nonsense.

I think the difference is when a private company offers you a service (like hiring their horses for a trail ride...or a safari) there is a liability involved...whereas if you just hike in the park under your own power, there is no one to sue for your problems.

I do agree that obnoxious people are randomly distributed among all nationalities and they frequent all types of camps and I've said so before!
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Oct 12th, 2005, 04:34 AM
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Just heard two good ones during my recent visit to Kwando

1. A group of people are watching a Leopard in a tree feeding on an Impala.
A guest asks the guide "what was the Impala doing in the tree before it got killed by the Leopard?"
2. Guests on thei first game drive ever.
The guide points out some Impala then Lion, Elephant and so on. Suddenly the guest spots something far away. The guide says Impala, well spotted!
Guests return to camp and the manager asks what did you see? and the guest goes: Elephant, Lion, Impala and well spotted Impala!!!
I am sure the manager had a good laugh
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Oct 12th, 2005, 06:57 AM
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An Urban legend that turned out not to be one (or maybe it is!):

The Savannah Lizard

During our lunch the nice scary stories came up again. While looking at a small lizard, a waiter informed us that there are also bigger savannah lizards around, which are able to suck you brain through your nose!! We laughted a bit about the story and told our guide the story. He laughed too and confirmed that the story is true...

Apparently, this lizard has two separate tongues, each half a meter long which he can insert into your nose and start sucking way! He explained that you would have to be sleeping in the bushes and be very drunk not to mention a big lizard sitting on your face. Still the story kept us thinking and we double-checked all doors and windows.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 07:22 AM
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I was told these two at Duba Plains:

Two Japanese tourists self driving Kruger come upon a couple of sleeping lions. They want pictures with the lions so they set the camera on the tripod with the timer which subsequently takes pictures of the men being consumed by the lions. This was told as if it really happened but it definitely has the myth quality to it.

Secondly -- this one happened for sure. A German traveler lifted a buffalo skull above his head (pretty heavy) at which point the weight was too much and he dropped it onto his forehead causing a large laceration. They had to emergency fly him out to get stitches.
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Oct 12th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Nice to see the urban legend thread, like its subject, is alive and well...keep the stories coming!

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