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Tragic death

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
9 188 posts
69 reviews
50 helpful votes
Tragic death

No mention of the woman killed I believe in Kafue NP? Probably most repeat visitors have scary stories to share,, but I am off to Zimbabwe in a couple of days and I will tell our guides that we would like to avoid bull elephants in musth. Had some adrenaline experiences with the Grumpys in Botswana, done enough!

26 replies to this topic
London, United...
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
8 958 posts
1. Re: Tragic death

"I will tell our guides that we would like to avoid bull elephants in musth"

LOL.

I think all guides would give them a wide berth, however, it's not always obvious that they are in musth until you get reasonably close, especially in wooded areas.

One thing I have noticed on safari is that for such large animals, elephants are surprisingly good at hiding.

Nairobi, Kenya
Level Contributor
3 985 posts
644 reviews
270 helpful votes
2. Re: Tragic death

As lamentable as this event is, it shouldn't dissuade anyone from going on safari, This is so rare. The fact is that no human activity is 100% safe.

Wiltshire, United...
Level Contributor
4 213 posts
123 reviews
119 helpful votes
3. Re: Tragic death

When we returned our 4x4 in Maun last year, one employee told us he had been out into Moremi the previous day to replace the passenger side window in a rental. Why? Because an ellie had broken it with its tusks. Not sure how the driver had been behaving, but imagine how scary that was! Ellies need to be treated with respect, and kept at a distance, end of.

World
Level Contributor
7 900 posts
621 reviews
262 helpful votes
4. Re: Tragic death

i think the safari vehicles generally avoid the bull and female elephants whenever they are in their " breeding heat" moments. but laymen / self drivers probably have more difficulty distinguishing these types of elephants from the rest

interesting, never heard of lufupa camp until now. apparently it is a wilderness camp but OAT has exclusive rights to it.

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
698 posts
6 reviews
4 helpful votes
5. Re: Tragic death

It is quite shocking isnt it, that poor woman and the others affected. (The story's on BBC news for anyone interested https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-68730679 .)

I've really appreciated the skills of my drivers/guides and how well they know just not the animals but also the terrain. Even so, it's as well to recognise that sometimes things go (badly) wrong.

Edited: 05 April 2024, 12:02
Singapore
Level Contributor
503 posts
229 reviews
257 helpful votes
6. Re: Tragic death

This is a real tragedy. From reading the various reports, it seemed to be a freak accident as normally the 4X4 would be able to get out of the way/out run the elephant, but the path was blocked by dense vegetation.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
Level Contributor
8 958 posts
7. Re: Tragic death

Indeed, this is the Wilderness Safaris camp used exclusively for OAT groups.

I understand the driver was racing away from the elephant but had to stop when his path was blocked, and that's when the elephant caught up with them.

The fact that the road was blocked doesn't particularly surprise me, in that this is very early in the year for Kafue, and they could well have been the first vehicle driving around for the season. Roads may not have been properly graded or cleared. At any time of year you can find your path blocked by debris, eg if elephants have been feeding during the night and knocked down branches or trees, but I think this early in the season there are so few other people around that it is much more likely you might find your path blocked.

Lufupa is relatively close to Musekese camp, and they don't even open until 1 May.

In seasonal areas of parks in Zambia, game can often be more skittish/aggressive than usual at the beginning of the season as they might have had 5 or 6 months without seeing any vehicles.

It's a tragic accident, but it doesn't sound like anyone is to blame.

World
Level Contributor
7 900 posts
621 reviews
262 helpful votes
8. Re: Tragic death

if you watch the photos /videos of the incident, it looks like the car has always been quite far from the elephant. so yeah they ran out of road.

Edited: 05 April 2024, 13:41
Hertford, United...
Level Contributor
5 331 posts
615 reviews
266 helpful votes
9. Re: Tragic death

I saw this on Twitter 3 days ago from an unverified source.

Very sad indeed.

We should always remember that it is their home that we're intruding for our pleasure.

Redlands, California
Level Contributor
9 188 posts
69 reviews
50 helpful votes
10. Re: Tragic death

Mukuma, you are right, but there were many comments on Facebook that we should "LEAVE THEM ALONE!" But the fact is that although they exist for our enjoyment, if it weren't for visitors they would not exist at all. Of course we cannot complain when we have put ourselves in a situation where there is risk.

In Botswana last June we met Mr Grumpy by a waterhole, and although our guide got close enough that we could see the fluid dripping down his face, he kept the vehicle pointed away from the elephant with a clear escape route. The next day in a different area, we were in a fairly dense area when he came around the corner (recognizable by a broken tusk). I think both sides were thinking "Not you again!" and getting away was a little more nerve-wracking.

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