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Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

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Hippotragus
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by Hippotragus » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:01 pm

I don't think you can think of a SANParks park and the place where the tourist was recently killed in the same category.

In SANParks parks the predators have to hunt and kill their food. In the other smaller game parks, the predators are fed meat/carcasses from the back of a vehicle. They have also often been hand-reared and petted, so are used to humans. They see a vehicle as a meat-delivery.

Provided tourists obey the guides and do not stand up or put limbs outside the open safari vehicle, I think they are perfectly safe.

Perhaps EcoJunkie would like to comment - she often drives such a vehicle in Kruger National Park.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by saraf » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:06 pm

They aren't actually that open.

There are canvas sides that come up about half way so that the only open part of them is where the windows should go. So as long as guests behave and do not break the outline of the vehicle all should be well. How much protection they would get from a rhino or elephant charge is another matter but the guide should be aware of any situation.

The SANParks guides are well trained - their guests safety and security is the most important thing on their drives. They will not put those guests in danger and will remove the vehicle from potentially dangerous situations.

I was out on a drive in March and asked the guide how many times he'd had to fire his rifle and when was the last time. He's only ever fired it at the firing range when he has to renew his certificate.

But it's the bush, there are wild animals and people will do stupid things so it isn't 100% safe.
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by Elsa » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:13 pm

A warm welcome from me as well josetta! :clap:

I think MM has given you good advice but really no two drives are the same and one can have a full complement of sightings from a morning drive at a certain camp and the very next day see almost nothing but it's really all about being out in the bush when there are no other tourists around and the experience, anticipation and excitement of what might be around the next corner.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by George_Brits » Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:16 pm

I agree with you, Hippotragus...

Wild lions and other predators don't associate vehicles with food.

Many times I have seen a lion walking right past an OSV without even giving it a second glance.

The incident that occurred many years ago close to B&D was because of habit, the ranger had a habit of sitting on the railing to have a cigarette away from the tourists, and the leopard was an old leopard according to Bruce Bryden's book, "a game ranger remembers"

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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by Imberbe » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:18 pm

There is an element of risk involved in the OSV's, since if a predator or for that matter any other animal would want to, they would be able to enter the vehicle without too many problems. But the safety factor is in the natural avoidance of animals of humans and their vehicles. As pointed out they do not perceive humans inside these vehicles as a threat nor as a target.

I am not convinced that the animals cannot distinguish a human inside the vehicle from the vehicle itself as some would suggest. I have seen too many times that there is some reaction by the animal when watching them. The animals are however habituated not to consider the human and do not react to humans. I believe they rather consider the "big picture" of the vehicle.

To increase the safety factor the rules were amended a fear years ago, which actually increased the mandatory coverage of OSV's. You will see that the new vehicles have much more canvas etc. which covers the passengers visually, than was previously the case. These vehicles also tends to be higher than most sedans which lifts the passengers above the normal line of sight of most animals.

The situation in a small enclosed area is unnatural and I believe the behaviour of such animals are often totally different from those in natural situations. The natural situation affords an animal the opportunity to move away if they feel uncomfortable, while in lion parks they are constantly confronted with humans in their space. I am not a supporter of these type of set-ups. NOT AT ALL.

One should also note that the safety factor in a "normal" vehicle is slightly enhanced, but by no means can it be claimed to be secure. An animal such as a lion is extremely powerful and would be able to break a window, should they really attack a vehicle.

But as it has been said. The safety record within the parks speak for itself. To date there has been no attack on a human inside a vehicle in our parks which I am aware of. Some vehicles have been attacked, but the attacks were aimed at the vehicle, not the passengers.

The fact remains that the onus should be on the humans to respect the animals and not force them on the animals. Keep a respectful distance and do not try and park in the face of the animals. The best experience is to watch a relaxed animal doing what they are supposed to do, rather than pushing you camera lens up its nose and then being surprised when the animals gets annoyed.
Last edited by Imberbe on Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:54 pm

Do not for one moment believe that the predators do not see humans in the vehicles. I was sitting quietly in my car watching a couple of lions. I was in the driver's seat, and the lions were on the passenger side of the vehicle. Suddenly the male fixed me with a stare and twice charged at the car before I could get it started and leave them in peace as they obviously wanted.

He had been able to see me perfectly through the closed window and across the vehicle, even though I was not moving other than to take a photo or two.

They simply do not regard us as their prey. Only crocodiles naturally do this. Other predators may do so in unusual circumstances such as zoos/safari parks where they are fed by humans, or weak and injured animals looking for anything they can catch.

And yes, as the years go by things actually get safer with more and more training of guides and safety procedures brought in.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by inyanga 1 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:53 pm

After some decades of KP drives I'm happy to let my offspring travel in these vehicles.
If guests disregard the rules and the briefings that everyone gets before setting off then things may happen.
(Jburg Lion Park says do not open windows)

I have enjoyed being 'up close and personal to lions in a KP drive', and surrounded by an huge ellie herd in the dark and watched amazing things from a SanParks vehicle.

But consider this.. you can go on a game walk where there are NO bits of cloth or metal between you and potentially some of the most violent of animals... but..

If you respect that you're in THEIR patch and act accordingly then all will be well. Don't be a 'silly tourist'..

My son in laws remind us that "there's nothing like being less than a metre away from the tons of a bull elephant in total dark on the other side of the (simple) camp fence, you can't see him, ... and he turns on his toes, 180 degrees in less than a second and blows in your face (with his trunk) ".....

Isn't that what coming to SanParks is all about....

that's why we come back...
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by josette06 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:13 am

Tks to both of you for the advice. I shall take gloves and hats just like when I go to the mountains here in winter
Can I ask 2 more questions :
My husband has back problems. Do you think he is right not to do the morning or evening drive in the trucks or whatever car that takes us to the drive ?
also I tried to book on this site but cannot get to the reservation page for activities. Is that normal ? Will I still find space available when I arrive in 2 weeks time ?

Tks a lot

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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by Elsa » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:55 am

Hi Josette,

Have a look at Availability
This is for Skukuza which I picked randomly but you can go to the camps of your choice which seem to be all working fine.

You can take a chance and book when checking in at the various camps but might be better to book and be sure.
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by josette06 » Thu Jun 11, 2015 12:17 am

Tks, I think my problem is I go to my computer at midnight when they do an update of the availibility
Should try to go earlier !
I cannot find out what is the difference between Sunrive V1, sunrise V2 and V3
Description are all the same . Can you tell me which V I should choose ?

And what about the drive ? Is it very bumpy for someone who has back problems ?

Tksa a lot

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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by Elsa » Thu Jun 11, 2015 11:10 am

The computers are possibly doing updates etc across midnight so if you can try at other times sure you will find it all working well.

If you hover the mouse over the various V types of drives it seems to indicate the different starting times dependent on the time of year.

I think it will depend on what roads the guides take for the drives as to how bumpy it will be for someone with a bad back.
They will almost certainly take some of the dirt or non tarred ones and they can vary in condition and corrugations.
So difficult for me to really advise on what to do.
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by inigana » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:21 pm

Hi there!
I'm traveling to Kruger the 2nd week of September. I'm staying at one night at Skukuza, two nights at Lower Sabie and the last night at Berg en dal.
I'm planning to do some morning and sunset drives at those parks. Which one is best for each camp?? what would you recommend, morning or sunset at those camps?? I think i'd rather go for a sunset drive instead of a night drive though.
And last, is it worth it to go for a morning walk at Lower Sabie? I don't feel quite safe walking around with animals out there!
Thanks in advance!!

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saraf
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Re: Info: Sunset/Night drives taken from camps.

Unread post by saraf » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:59 pm

I would say go for the walk at Lower Sabie. Just bear in mind that most animals will hear or see humans on foot way before you will see them and take flight. Normally you won't get close enough for them to be a danger. And the guides are well trained and will not walk into trouble.

For a drive, I like to spend my last night in Kruger on a drive. Drives from BnD do get some good sightings.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by Garyd73 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:16 pm

I only use these vehicles when in the park and never been in a car and have never once felt I was in any danger at all. The people I use aren't SANParks but use the same vehicles and the guides have years of experience. I might feel more vulnerable in a car as I am lower and closer to the game and a window isn't going to stop a Lion or a door an Elephant tusk.

I much prefer the higher elevation and always being out in the open which also makes photography much easier as I have full 360 degree coverage. My Mum who is scared of sleeping in the huts at most camps because of animals coming in through the thatched roof feels perfectly fine in the vehicles as well.
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Re: How safe are the open game viewing vehicles?

Unread post by RayK » Thu Jun 18, 2015 2:21 pm

Hi gregdeklerk,
The opinions above have been given by people far more knowledgeable than me so I can only go by my experience. I was on a night drive with my daughter in the larger SanParks vehicle. She was sitting across the aisle from me watching a relaxed elephant that was eating leaves off a tree. Without warning it charged but stopped a few feet from the vehicle. At the same time the driver started the truck and took off. The elephant could have easily pushed through the canvas but chose not to. If not for my daughter being there I would have considered it a great experience. So I guess anything is possible.


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