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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Location: Brackenfell, Western Cape
My view of this tragedy is that it is irresponsible of the authorities to allow walking trails without armed guides in game parks where dangerous animals roam. The fact that this has been allowed for years, that there are many warning signposts, indemnities have to be signed and that by prohibiting non-guided walking trails, fun will be taken out of the wild experience, is no excuse to become reckless.
The authorities at SanParks should have known better.

Lennie


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 7:52 pm 
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:hmz:

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Sat 26 April - 29 April 2014 Wilderness Ebb n Flow.
30 April - 01 May 2014 - Natures Valley
02 - 03 May 2014 - Bontebok NP.


Last edited by Munchkin on Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:21 pm 
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extract from GO magazine article April 2010 "On foot with mountain zebras" - Toast Coetzer.

Impofu Trail - "But the riverine bush here is what the buffalo favour, so we are extra vigilant. We see buffalo dung and spoor everywhere. As we cross the Weltevredenspruit, we lose the trail again. We walk this way and that looking for a trail marker and then we suddenly hear breaking branches. It's the buffalo! Luckily they're running away from us. It's nice to have seen them, but we're all a little shaken up! The Park also has some black rhino (also temperamental brutes) but they're seldom seen."

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Munchkin = Our Persian Cat - Sadly Munchie no longer with us.

Sat 26 April - 29 April 2014 Wilderness Ebb n Flow.
30 April - 01 May 2014 - Natures Valley
02 - 03 May 2014 - Bontebok NP.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Plus a letter to the same mag June 2010: "Here is a word of warning about hiking in the MZNP. My wife and I started off on the Black Eagle Trail. As we are quite fit, we soon found our way heading back to camp where we picked up the trail markers for the Idwala Trail. Half and hour later I gestured to my wife to stop as I had seen a dark shape under a bush next to the path. Suddenly the "rock" changed shape and I looked right into the eyes of a buffalo. We were lucky, as the trail would have led right past the bush. Needless to say we did'nt hike any further." Boudewijn De Roo

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Munchkin = Our Persian Cat - Sadly Munchie no longer with us.

Sat 26 April - 29 April 2014 Wilderness Ebb n Flow.
30 April - 01 May 2014 - Natures Valley
02 - 03 May 2014 - Bontebok NP.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 14, 2010 6:27 pm
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He was a friend of ours and we will miss him very much. It is a very sad loss to all of us. Facts is that this was a freak accident and maybe Sanparks as well as us, there clients, need to realise that nature is nature. We are all part of this wonderful universe. This was not crime, it was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Once again, condolences to the family and friends of our golfing partner and friend. I am sure that Johan will not like us to come to a standstill because of this. A toast to him and his lively spirit !!


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:46 am 
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adolfschoe wrote:
He was a friend of ours and we will miss him very much. It is a very sad loss to all of us. Facts is that this was a freak accident


We all feel for the family and friends of the hiker killed in this way. That is why we have to reflect on this incident to try and eliminate any occurrence.
Unfortunately it cannot be seen as a freak accident. Trained guides must have do at least twenty dangerous approaches to skill them in recognising animal behaviour and looking out for danger signs. As with the other letters and articles we now see clearly that most hikers are just not skilled in this.
I myself was part of a party chased by an elephant bull and the situation called for gunshots over the head of the ellie to stop the charge – fortunately no harm to the elephant though. Only then you realise how easy the situation can turn nasty for humans in the wild.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:22 pm 
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You know, I've been following the threads and I realise that most people feel like I do. The animals come first, because we are in their territory and they are where they are, because we care about conservation. However, I fully agree that Sanparks have to rethink their trails. There's no point in pointing fingers now - what's done is done, we can't change it. We could all shout and scream about what happened, but it won't make a difference to the past. What matters now is the future and that is where Sanparks (I don't envy them) have to make some very serious decisions.

My heart goes out to this man's wife and the other couple. An awful thing to have witnessed and experienced - terrifying to say the least. The question is... where to now? Perhaps driving in cars is the only way to 'relatively' safely view wild game; let's face it an elephant against a car is terrifying too.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:14 pm 
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In America at Yellowstone National Park, there are Buffalo, Bear, Cougar, Moose, Elk, Deer and a number of other wild animals that can injure and kill people. Almost every year people are killed or maimed in encounters with these animals in the park, or because of wandering off-trail at thermal areas like hot springs and geysers. These encounters and tragedies occur despite strict warnings and liability postings, because encounters between people and animals sometimes end badly. Despite the common problems, the entire park is open to all, and no areas are truly off limits. You can alight from your vehicle anywhere in the park, and you can hike the extensive trail system throughout the park, but all at your own risk.

I am not saying that SanParks should open up the parks more, but I think that with sufficient warnings people should be able to choose whether to take the risk in parks like MZNP that offer hiking/walking trails.

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Last edited by normana53 on Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:21 am 
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normana53 wrote:
In America at Yellowstone National Park, there are Buffalo, Bear, Cougar, Moose, Elk, Deer and a number of other wild animals that can injure and kill people. Almost every year people are killed or maimed in encounters with these animals in the park, because of wandering off-trail at thermal areas like hot springs and geysers. These encounters and tragedies occur despite strict warnings and liability postings, because encounters between people and animals sometimes end badly. Despite the common problems, the entire park is open to all, and no areas are truly off limits. You can alight from your vehicle anywhere in the park, and you can hike the extensive trail system throughout the park, but all at your own risk.

I am not saying that SanParks should open up the parks more, but I think that with sufficient warnings people should be able to choose whether to take the risk in parks like MZNP that offer hiking/walking trails.


I am with you on this one. But it's not an easy one.

What can be allowed and what can not be allowed by SANparks? Take for instance a camp like Grootkolk where people and big cats are almost talking to each other about the weather. Most vistors are raving about that camp including me. And allthough there is an armed ranger on site which reduces the risk of serious incidents to e serious extent, I wouldn't be surprised if one day or another an incident will occur in or around that camp. The day this would happen I for one would sure hope SANparks will NOT decide to close this gem of a camp.

So I hope the walks will still be allowed, yes. Where does it end when Sanparks would rethink things every time an incident occur? I do agree however with jenismithies in the way that I don't envy Sanparks for having to take decisions like this. Easy for me to write my thoughts from a safe desk.

In the meanwhile, my deepest sympathy goes out to the victim, his family and friends. May he rest in peace.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:40 am 
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My deepest, deepest sympathy for all involved :( . I cannot begin to imagine their pain.

It is a reminder to all of us to walk with caution. I know that I sign indemnity forms many times and never really think of possible consequences.

In terms of blaming, lets not go there, let's look at what can be learned. I am sure Sanparks is looking very deeply into this.

Life, living life is full of risk. There are no pat answers and no and no guarantees. Every time I go onto the roads I take a risk of a drunk driver taking me out. The question here is about future prevention.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:48 am 
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My husband and I are teachers in our 60's, living near Boston, MA. We are considering a self driving tour of SA late next June into July. However, the news of the death and injury of four people on a trail near the Mountain Zebra NP gives us pause.

Can anyone tell us which Parks and Nature Reserves have fences around the camps? We would probably prefer less authenticity and more safety! We are from California so rattlesnakes and earthquakes don't scare us but African animals are noted for their wildness and resistance to domestication (re Guns, Germs, and Steel). The country looks beautiful, similar in topography and climate to California. Should we just vacation in California and skip the dangerous animals and the crime but miss the friendly people and beautiful country?

We could not visit under apartheid but don't want to die or get injured on a visit.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:51 am 
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Hi, and welcome to the Forums. :thumbs_up:

Visiting the parks are in fact extremely safe. The most camps have fences surrounding them, it is the exception which does not have. And in fact, the most of the camps which does not have fences, are in parks with "no" dangerous animals. I put that in brackets because most animals do offer a degree of danger in exteme circumstance.

But the facts are that very very very few visitors ever get injured, let alone die, in our parks. This is one reason why this incident is so startling. The chance of getting injured in a motor car accident in one of the parks are in fact bigger than being injured by an animal.

Come and visit! You won't be sorry!

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:44 am 
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Hi Colette and Welcome!

Do NOT please be deterred from visiting South Africa by this very rare event or by what you read and see about South Africa in the US press. I have been visiting South Africa since 1984 and have had nothing but positive experiences there either then or now — and I am a female (probably just a bit older than you :wink: ) who travels alone.

South Africa is a wonderful country and the people are the friendliest I have ever encountered. That is a big reason why I keep returning. The SANParks are amazing and very easy to travel about in, even the few unfenced camps in areas with so-called dangerous animals are really quite safe so long as you take normal precautions — and the experience of staying in such camps is unparaleled.

Ask as many questions here on the forum as you wish to allay any fears or uneasiness that you may have, but do not forego the opportunity to visit South Africa and its amazing national parks. You will have an unforgettable — and positive — adventure!


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:52 am 
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Colette I agree with what has been said by the others above. Remember around 3.7 million people visit our parks per year and a fatality caused by an animal is a very very rare occurance. You will be safe if you follow the rules laid down by the authorities. :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:19 am 
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I am English, have lived in South Africa and I can assure you that Sanparks has an incredible safety record with regards to visitors to the parks.

We have more people killed every year climbing on hills or mountains here in the UK, than are ever injured in South African game parks.

As long as you obey the rules, stay in your vehicle and don't hang out, you will be fine. :thumbs_up:


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