Cape Town – What would you do if you ventured into a game park in the hope of spotting one of the Big Five, only to be faced in the awkward position of having one of the wild animals chase after you?
This was the reality faced by a group of friends at the Natal Lion Park in KwaZulu-Natal, who were “left traumatised” after a lion held onto the spare tyre on the back of the bakkie they were driving in.
According to Pietermaritzburg-based newspaper The Witness – whose reporter Chelsea Pieterse happened to be a part of the group that experienced the ordeal – there have been “numerous incidents of lions jumping on vehicles at the park, which is owned by prominent animal circus owner Brian Boswell”.
SEE: #WorldLionDay: Awareness needed to double endangered lion numbers by 2050
Pieterse says that the lion they had passed suddenly got up and chased the car.
“Then it jumped and grabbed the tyre and started chewing it like a play toy,” she says, adding that they continued driving, and the lion held on for a few more seconds before letting go. See the full story here.
Check out the video here:
Luckily a situation that could have been disastrous ended fairly smoothly, with neither the lion nor the vehicle’s passengers physically harmed in any way.
But what can one do if caught in such a predicament or to avoid a situation like this altogether - without having to refrain from ever visiting a game park?
ALSO SEE: Respect our Parks: Kruger rules visitors need to know
Reynold Thakhuli of South African National Parks (SANParks) told Traveller24 that “predators are usually opportunistic” and therefore the “basic thing to do is try to be as safe as possible”.
He advises to do the following:
- Give enough space between vehicles and animals at viewings.
- Do not get too close to the animals.
- Do not align off or protrude out of the windows or sunroofs.
- Do not throw food at animals.
- Maintain your speed limit in any national park or protected area.
- Do not consume alcohol especially when driving in the park as this could lead to a need for a comfort break where there is none – or it could even lead to irrational behaviour.
- Revving of vehicles should be avoided.
To learn more about the rules of the National Parks in South Africa, check out this video:
What to read next on Traveller24:
- #WorldLionDay: Awareness needed to double endangered lion numbers by 2050
- SA's controversial lion bones quota: Home truth of the canned lion life cycle you have to see
- Respect our Parks: Kruger rules visitors need to know