There are few experiences as unique and breathtaking as going on vacation in South Africa. Getting the chance to visit this gorgeous country and take in spectacular landscapes featuring beautiful lakes, stunning savannahs, and wild woodlands is simply incomparable.
Visiting the country also allows people to become better acquainted with the culture by fully immersing themselves in it.
Of course, we can never forget the country’s troubled history – marred by Apartheid and discrimination – but we can learn from it and see how the country has changed for the better, and perhaps the ways in which it still needs to improve.
And although Africa, as a whole, is a massive continent – the US can fit into Africa three times – we often undermine it by talking about it as though it were just one big country with predominant culture.
Generalising Africa as though there were little variation between its various nations can be a difficult habit to break, even for the most enlightened of people. But it is important to acknowledge the individuality of the different countries, where possible.
However, if there’s one thing that binds many of these nations together, it’s that they are the epitome of natural beauty, including everything from the landscapes to the wildlife.
It’s fair to say that nowhere else in the world does safaris quite like the nations of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, to name just a few. And getting up close and personal with some of the world’s most majestic and endangered animals during these safari tours is simply an unforgettable experience.
But that’s not to say things can’t go horrendously wrong on safari vacations. Animal attacks can and do happen, and when they do, they’re absolutely terrifying. You have to be aware when taking part in a safari tour, that you’re willingly putting yourself in the same space as wild animals with ravenous instincts.
Yes, the whole point of a safari is to get close encounters with the animals in their natural habitats, but sometimes these very animals can get a little too close for comfort. That’s exactly what went down during a school trip in Bela Bela, South Africa.
In the middle of the tour of the safari park, a truck full of students had their trip crashed by some nearby lions.
Take a look at the gripping footage here:
The staff can be heard telling visitors to “relax”: “Relax. All of you relax. Climb out. He just wants to say hi. Do not jump out. Climb out. Do not jump out relax.”
Following the guide’s instructions, the students didn’t kick up too much of a fuss and left the truck as calmly as possible.
Fortunately, the nature of this particular encounter didn’t call for any drastic action. Not everyone is that lucky though. In fact, recently three poachers who managed to break into a South African game reserve to hunt rhinos were confronted with a group of lions who killed them and ultimately ate them.
Learn more about the fatal encounter here:
The deadly incident occurred on the Sibuya Game Reserve Kenton-on-Sea in Eastern Province, South Africa. In the aftermath of the vicious attack, staff at the park discovered hunting rifles with silencers, wire cutters, and an axe, reportedly used to cut rhino horns.
In an attempt to find any other casualties, a helicopter was brought to the site, but nothing more has been found as of yet.
Sixty-year-old Nick Fox, the owner of the park, said in a press release on Facebook:
“We found enough body parts and three pairs of empty shoes which suggest to us that the lions ate at least three of them but it is thick bush and there could be more.
They came heavily armed with hunting rifles and axes which we have recovered and enough food to last them for several days so we suspect they were after all of our rhinos here.”
“But the lions are our watchers and guardians and they picked the wrong pride and became a meal. Whilst we are saddened at any loss of life the poachers came here to kill our animals and this sends out a very clear message to any other poachers that you will not always be the winner.”
“The lions may have eaten more of them it is difficult to tell as the area is very thick with bush and you cannot be sure what they have taken off to feed on elsewhere.”
“The best estimate we have so far is that three of the gang were eaten. They were armed with high powered rifles with silencers, an axe for the horns, wire cutters and side arms, so were clearly intent on killing rhinos and cutting off their horns.”
The remains of the bodies were discovered at sunset on July 3. Staff were told to wait until daylight the next day to safely search the area.
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender has confirmed the remains were found in the lion camp. She said:
“We do not know identities but firearms have been taken by the police and will be sent to the ballistics laboratory to see if they have been used in poaching before.”
Rhino poaching is still currently at a critical level, according to the South African government, which released the alarming 2017 statistics on rhino poaching and rhino horn smuggling. According to National Geographic, 1,028 rhinos were illegally killed last year, in 2007, only 13 were killed.
The huge increase which occurred in just a decade is evidence enough that this crime needs to be taken a lot more seriously.
Yes, it was a tragedy that the aforementioned poachers died in what would have been an extremely vicious attack. It’s a shame, however, that it happened as a result of a crime they chose to commit.