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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:49 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Somerset West
An extremely sad story which makes life difficult for Sanparks whichever way they look at it!

I have had the privilege of doing a number of really wild walks at Mana Pools in Zimbabwe over the years, unaccompanied by rangers. We came across hundres of buffalo, elephant, black rhino, hippo, and of course a few lions too, plus following a pack of 7 wild dogs for about 2 km in the bush on foot while they were hunting!
I knew it was a very big risk, but loved the excitement, and CLOSE feel of nature there -- even the campsite was unfenced, and a lone buffalo slept behind our tent on the `lawn' every night...

Quote:
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


This type of response is normal, and maybe it would have been mine of a loved one of mine had died at MZNP, but it will be a sad day if there is NO wild place in South Africa where tourists can do it on their own, knowing what the risks are, and not asking to have an animal put down if it did something `bad' in the process..


Just thinking...

God bless, and condolences to all concerned!

Friedrich von Hörsten

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:12 am 
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We would like to assure all our visitors that, while conservation is our core mandate, the safety of our visitors is also of the utmost importance to SANParks.

Following the full investigation of the incident which took place, it has been decided to fence the rest camp area of Mountain Zebra National Park. This electrified fencing will enclose the rest camp chalets, camp site, reception area, swimming pool and the 1km Imbila and 3km Black Eagle hiking trails. There will be low level fencing in front of the cottages so that it does not obscure the view.

The fencing will be done as soon as logisitcally possible.

We understand that many visitors feel that the hiking trails are an important feature of the Park and the only way to truly experience the bush. By fencing in these short trails, we will be able to provide the option of walking unguided while still ensuring visitor safety.

The 10km and 3-day hiking trails are still under discussion. The most likely option will be to make them fully guided trails and possibly re-route some of the sections of the trails. Until we have decided upon their future and put the appropriate measures in place, the hiking trails will remain closed.

Visitors can still book the hiking trail cottages on their won (i.e. without doing the hiking trail) and access them by vehicle (high clearance vehicle needed) if they want a secluded overnight getaway in the Park.

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Megan Taplin
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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:15 am 
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Thanks for the update Megan!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:35 pm 
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Location: Randburg
Thank you Megan.

MZNP is a beautiful park and it is sad that such a tragedy happened. We stayed at Doornkloef which is quite amazing and walked theBlack Eagle trail.

Quite an expensive exercise for the Frontier Park region to fence the campsite. :big_eyes:

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Croc Bridge - 6 April 2012
Berg en Dal - 7&8 April 2012


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:52 am 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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In the newspapers today. The family of the man that was killed, and the persons that were injured in the attack is going to sue SANParks for loss of income and general damages for the injuries suffered.

It will be interesting to see what happens to these cases, but the question is, should SANParks be held accountable for someone's death or injuries? Will this not kill the trails in Kruger and other parks, if SANParks have to cough up? If for example, Bill Gates is killed and his family sues SANParks, it could be catastrophic.

Will you sue SANParks if you are injured?

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:29 am 
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
Am pretty sure you sign an indemnity or similar when entering each park, which absolves SANParks of liability?

Also, I think the common law affords protection to SANParks, since the people that undertake the trail know that it is dangerous to do so (i.e. SANParks don't represent that it isn't dangerous).

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:03 pm 
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Location: Stilbaai - another little piece of Paradise
I was sad to read that SANParks are to be sued after this tragic event. My heart goes out to the friends and family of the man who died but this was an accident that happened in a wild area. This time it was a buffalo but what happens if its a black mamba bite that proves fatal or an allergic reaction to a bee sting? Death can come in many forms in the wild, to animal and human alike - are we to sue whatever the cause? Must SANParks put up signs like on cigarette packets 'Visiting this Park may be dangerous to your health'? You have to respect where you are - after all the choice was yours to be there.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:50 pm 
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I believe you are right Josh.
And every get-out point in Kruger has a sign
Getting out at your own risk etc etc

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 9:53 pm 
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If the family has decided that they should sue, then maybe SanParks needs to recover the cost of the response and investigation that were caused by this untimely ACCIDENT! This was just that, an unfortunate accident. Whenever we are in the bush, there is a risk of injury or death. We (or at least most of us) accept that risk as a part of the experience, and keep alert to the possibility of danger. You cannot blame SanParks for this, anymore than you can blame the car manufacturer for providing the means to get you there, or your shoe manufacturer because it's shoes couldn't carry you out of danger quickly enough.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:38 am 
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I totally agree n53,
One cannot blame Sanparks, we enter the parks knowing the risks involved.. one certainly cannot blame the animals either....
I am saddened to think that Sanparks is being sued...
Perhaps the family will re think their decision :(


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:30 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:55 am
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It was an unfortunate tragedy - but entering a wilderness area has its risks.
Even getting out of your car at a picnic spot, one needs to be aware of the fact that we are in the animals territory and are the "intruders" and need to respect the wild.
You even have to sigh an indemnity form when going on game drives - so you are aware that there are certain risks involved.


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:10 am 
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It may be a question of volenti non fit injuria. To a willing person, no injury is done.

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 10:50 am 
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you either sign an indemnity before you go on a walk in MZNP, or you walk without an indemnity at your own risk. surely it isn't that complicated?

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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:16 am 
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Quote:
Short hiking trails in the Mountain Zebra National Park (MZNP) have re-opened to visitors following their closure in mid July after a fatal incident between a hiker and a buffalo bull.

The 1-kilometre Imbila Hiking Trail and 2.5-kilometre Black Eagle (previously 3km), which start and end at the rest camp area, have re-opened after fencing of the entire rest camp area and short hiking trail area.


A 4.2-kilometre electrified fence was constructed over a period of two weeks, at a cost of over R250 000. The fence encloses the cottages, reception area, swimming pool, camping ground and short hiking trails. The electrified fence was constructed at a low level in front of the cottages so that it will not interfere with the scenic view from the accommodation units.


“We are very pleased to be able to once again offer visitors the chance to experience the Park on foot,” said Park Manager, Lesley-Ann Meyer.


Meyer added that the short hiking trails, which are available to visitors at no extra cost, have always been a popular way to experience the bush and the scenic Karoo landscapes in the Park.


Although the fence excludes large wildlife, visitors will still be able to look out for spoor and signs of animals such as kudu, common duiker and steenbok on the short hiking trail. Small mammals like rock dassie, scrub hare, cape hare, porcupine, ground squirrel, meerkat, grey and yellow mongoose are also found in the area as well as vervet monkey and baboon.


The two longer hiking trails: the 10-kilometre Idwala Trail and three-day, 25-kilometre Impofu Trail remain closed at present and will re-open later in the year as guided hiking trails. Visitors will be accompanied by an armed guide on these trails.


Although the three-day hiking trail is closed, the two mountain huts which provide overnight stops on the hike are still available for accommodation bookings and can be accessed with a high clearance vehicle.


The two mountain huts each accommodate ten people in two bedrooms and a “hikers bedroom” with six bunk beds where own bedding must be provided. The huts are equipped with solar-powered fridges, gas stoves, kitchen equipment, a braai area and ablutions.


Mountain Zebra National Park is located near the town of Cradock in the Eastern Cape and conserves over 28 000 hectares.


Issued by:
South African National Parks

Here


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 Post subject: Re: Buffalo kills hiker in MZNP
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 11:54 am 
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Just read that article on the front page too Spook. Well done MZNP :clap: :clap: R250 000.00 is a heck of a lot of money for this small park. Well done SANParks :clap: :clap: :clap:

The Black Eagle Trail provides some wonderful views of the whole area.

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Croc Bridge - 6 April 2012
Berg en Dal - 7&8 April 2012


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