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French guy who was found wandering

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Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 11:01 pm
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Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:45 am Unread post
A good while back I remember reading something on the forum about the most chilling tale I think I have ever heard. I originally thought it took place in Kruger, but I have been informed that it was in fact in KTP.

Someone on this forum was watching some teenage male lions on the side of the road when they looked up ahead and saw a man walking along the road! The sped forward and picked him up and discovered he and his wife and young daughter had got their hire car stuck on one of the 4x4 routes and after spending a night in the car he decided to risk it and walk for help.

I have searched and searched for that story but can't seem to find it. Does anyone else remember anything about this or remember what topic it fell under?

I just need to make 100% sure it wasn't in Kruger (and that I am not going mad in imagining it!)

Any input greatly appreciated.
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Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:26 pm Unread post
Afternoon,

jeffgordan, if it is the same situation I’m thinking of it happened close to Nossob where the guy got stuck on one of the Botswana 4x4 routes and he walked a distance of 70Km to get assistance. Could you let me know if it was close to Nossob area?

A few years ago we had a similar situation with a French guest who tried to skip the country (S.A.) through Botswana, they got stuck and they walked towards Rooiputs where a guest informed us about the guests and we had to go and fetch them, it was a mission to find the vehicle and we had to get a helicopter from Upington to go and search for the vehicle.

Here are a few pictures of the vehicle that got stuck.


Image
Image
Image
Image


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:22 pm Unread post
Hi Jan,

Those pictures of the stranded vehicle are quite extraordinary, but that is definitely not the case I am thinking of. That car looks well and truly STUCK!

The incident you mention near Nossob where the guy walked 70km for help *may* be the right tale, but I am starting to wonder. I don't remember the 70km detail (which is quite amazing).

The details I do remember (and keep in mind it could have been in Kruger, not KTP, though the Kruger forum members assure me it was a KTP incident):

- The guy was discovered by a tourist who had been watching a group of 3 or 4 feisty teenage lions who, if memory serves me right, were being quite aggressive towards the car
- The rescuers saw this dishevelled chap walking down the road towards them and the lions, and they quickly drove forward and let him into the car
- I recall that he was a French tourist and was in the Park with his wife and daughter. They had taken there car on a 4x4 only route (I think they were just in a sedan hire car)
- They had waited and waited for another vehicle to come along but nobody did. They spent a whole day and night in the car and were suffering dehydration (which I believe is what prompted the guy to get out and walk).

Those are the only details I can remember.

As I say, I originally thought this incident had taken place in Kruger, but it was my early days on the forum and it's possible I was confused and actually looking at the KTP forum!


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:32 pm Unread post
Don't think it is the same.

If my memory serves me well (and it usually does not) it was on one of the dune roads and it was a grandfather who waited until middayish to walk backto 2R because the lions sleep then.

I also remember it was in a TR.


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:53 pm Unread post
Hmmm, those details don't ring any bells for me, BB.

I distinctly remember it being a French guy who had his wife and young child (daughter I think) in the car. I don't recall that he was an old man (although I could be wrong) and I dont remember the bit about walking at midday because the lions would be sleeping (again, I may just be forgetting that detail).

But, like you, I am not sure my memory is anything worth trusting your life over!

This is indeed a mystery.


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:49 am Unread post
Do remember a story, it was in a TR and it was a French person stuck with a sedan on a dune on a road 4x4 only close to 2R


Last edited by Jonkers on Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:30 pm Unread post
I will ask around and see if the section rangers can tell us what were and how.


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:55 pm Unread post
With acknowledgement to Ossie Meyer from Somerset West and the June issue of WEG, here's the story:
Anybody feel like translating? :hmz:

Image


Last edited by WeskusKlong on Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:29 pm Unread post
Please could someone translate!! Asseblief!! :pray:


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:52 am Unread post
WeskusKlong, thank you SO much for finding, scanning and posting the article. What a wonderful community these SANParks forums are, filled with people who don't mind doing some graft to help another forum member out. It is greatly appreciated.

This story from the magazine bears a massive similarity to the story I remember (French guy, car stranded, partner left in car, walked to get help) but there are also some annoying differences (ie. I remember the story that he was picked up by tourists who found him wandering on the road, just as they had been looking at a group of teenage lions with bad attitudes, and I am certain that his wife and daughter were left in the car. I also dont recall the detail about him getting stuck in water.).

Perhaps it was a case of "broken telephone" where a story gets changed as it passes from one person to the next, so perhaps this is indeed the tale in question and I just read the tall, second-, third- or fourth-hand retold version.

Nonetheless, I am reluctant to 'close the file' on this just yet, just in case the incident I am thinking of *is* a different one and *did* occur in Kruger as I originally thought.

Thank you again, WeskusKlong as well as everyone else who has assisted in trying to get to the bottom of this.

PS. vgstephens, I am afraid I dont want to show myself up with my very poor Afrikaans by providing a translation for you. I think I would be laughed off the forums!


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:24 am Unread post
:hmz: and what do you think... people are not laughing at me... with my TR en something like English :lol:

like you already said jeffgordon there is no pictures... then after I don't know...
was this events around 2006 ??? I don't see a date on this newspaper :hmz:


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:58 am Unread post
Some 6 six years ago we arrived at Twee Rivieren . . . this was only days after the
aforementioned incident and I remember the story very well.

The facts may also be verified with the more senior personel at main reception at TR,
simply because 'they were given a lot of flack' afterwards . . . for this incident having
been a direct result of permits not properly reconciled the evening before . . . and the
absence of this French speaking visistor's permit that evening . . . having gone un-noticed.

There was a lot of lion activity during the night. The first visitors out the next morning saw
two groups of lion about 3 kilometers from TR . . . one group on the ridge one the left . . .
and the others on the far side on the riverbed on the Botswana side . . . they were roaring
at one another. The was a lot of cars looking at this lot . . . when somebody noticed
this man walking in the road straight towards them . . . about to pass inbetween the two
groups of lion. He was imediatly picked up. This was his story.

He visited the KTP in a hired 4x4 vehicle and the stayed at TR. He turned in at the second
small (no-entry) turnoff about 2 km from Samevloeiing. Once over the first dune, he realised
his mistake and wanted to turn around but got stuck in the sand. Not knowing the vehicle,
he simply could not engage the 4x4. Him, his wife and young child were stuck.

They stayed in the vehicle for the rest of the day . . hoping someone would arrive. Night
came quickly and the nearly died of the cold, being without blankets and warm clothing. There
was not diesel to let the heater run all night.

Next morning, with no water or food . . . he had no option but to get out of the vehicle . . .
cross the solitary dune back into the Nossob/TR road on foot try and walk the 3/4 kms to TR.

Whether he would have made it to TR gate between the two groups of lion . . . remains a
big question. Imagine his joy when seeing all the cars ! !


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:09 am Unread post
For our English speaking friends :wink: :


In February I was in Kgalagadi. One evening at about seven o’ clock in the Polentswa camp on the Botswana side of the park, my friend Conrad Bos and I heard a noise. He got onto the roof of the A-frame shelter and saw a battered man walking out the bush.

The man, a Frenchman, was dehydrated and in a state. He had a backpack, a 4x4 fire extinguisher (to chase off wild animals), a sleeping bag and empty water can with him.

We gave him water and medicine, let him shower and covered him to warm up. He shivered of shock. We notified the Twee Rivieren and Nossob camps by satellite phone.

Late that evening he revealed his story: He and a travelling companion met on the internet and he invited her to accompany him on his first visit to Africa.

They met in Windhoek and travelled via Mata-Mata and Twee Rivieren in a hired 4x4. Here they registered to do the wilderness route over Nossob and Polentswa to the Kaa border post.

Two days earlier, on 3 pm, they arrived at two pans about 40 km from Polentswa. Both pans were submerged in water – including the road. Apparently the Frenchman drove into the water and got stuck.

They tried to get the vehicle unstuck until darkness fell and went to sleep. The next day they walked about 10km in search of water but found nothing.

The next morning at about 6 am he started walking back to Nossob (about 90 km). In temperatures of about 34 degC…

He left his travelling companion behind with food and a limited amount of water- very daring in lion territory…

The next morning we went to fetch the lady and their clothing and took the two to Nossob and handed them over to Parks personnel. The personnel were going to fetch the vehicle.

That was the last we saw or heard of the two French.

All we know is that it must be one of the luckiest Frenchmen alive!

Sanparks technical personnel went to recover the vehicle the next morning. It was repaired at Nossob, after which the couple continued on their journey. According to Botswana Wildlife there were no further incidents. - Red


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:33 am Unread post
Wow!!!!! and thanks so much for the translation Weskusklong!! :thumbs_up:


Re: French guy who was found wandering

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:36 pm Unread post
That's not the one I remember......

Looks like the French men have driving problems there. :twisted:
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