Weekend Wrap: Boy dies as trio of cheetah attacks surface, airport terror and 50K visitors enjoy CT Ocean Amaza Odyssey

2017-03-19 19:44 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - For those who had the aptitude to put in leave - good on you and YASS to the long weekend! For others, there's still a Monday to get through before enjoying Human Rights Day on Tuesday - keeping in mind, long weekend means a shorter week.

Either way, here are some of the key travel-related stories that happened in the last 72 hours that you need to know about.

SEE: Monday's Weather Update: High fire dangers as 40°C+ temperatures expected

Wildlife interactions once again in the spotlight after trio of cheetah incidents

As Traveller24 featured the magical Kruger National Park in our weekend Find Your Escape Newsletter - click here to subscribe - celebrating SA's flagship national park and its incredibly natural wildlife encounters - a trio of incidents, one fatal, has brought the issue of wildlife petting and interactions into the spotlight yet again.

Netwerk24 reports a three-year-old boy was attacked by a cheetah on the wildlife farm Tiger Canyons near Philippolis in the Free State - owned by well-known conservationist and filmmaker John Varty. The boy, Lorenzo Pieterse, son of one of the farm workers unfortunately succumbed to his injuries shortly after arriving at a Bloemfontein hospital. 

It is believed the incident occurred after one of the gates was left open. Varty, who at the time of the incident was not on his farm, told Netwerk24 the incident happened at about 07:00.

This unfortunate case, follows an incident in which a New Zealand father managed to save his teen son after the youngster was reportedly attacked by a cheetah at a safari park in Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal last week - See News24's coverage here.

According to Radio New Zealand, Dave Driver and his family were touring the Emdoneni Safari Park on Wednesday 15 March and a group of around 20 other people to pet two cheetahs while guides supervised.

However information has since surfaced, as yet unconfirmed, alleging a similar incident happened at the same safari park, just a day before Driver's son was attacked - once again igniting the call for wildlife interactions and petting to be stopped.

SEE: Cheetah attacks Kiwi boy in SA: When will we put a stop to wildlife petting?

Traveller24 will be hosting a twitter chat about SA's Amazing Wildlife twitter on Friday 24 March at 12:30pm - come join in, we look forward to hearing about your experiences, your views on SA's amazing wildlife and sharing advice.

Travellers on alert as terror incidents spark concerns across international airports 

Globally a number of terror incidents took hold this weekend, as AP reports a man attacked a soldier at Paris' Orly Airport on Saturday morning, wresting away her assault rifle after which her two colleagues shot and killed him before he could fire the military-grade weapon at the busy airport. The report stats the attack forced Orly to shut down, sent passengers fleeing in panic and trapped hundreds aboard flights that had just landed.

French police have revealed the family of the suspect Ziyed Ben Belgacem have been taking into custody. The Paris prosecutor's office, which took charge of the probe after the Saturday morning attack, says the brother and a cousin of the suspect, Ziyed Ben Belgacem, remain in custody. The father was released overnight. The office says an autopsy Sunday of the attacker's body will include drawing blood for drug and alcohol tests. 

Suspicious pillow

This as a Cyprus police official says authorities briefly evacuated the departure lounge of the east Mediterranean island's main Larnaca airport over a 'suspicious' black box that was found to contain a pillow. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to speak to the media, said the 90-minute evacuation on Saturday ended after a police bomb disposal unit using specially trained dogs and equipment found that the box was harmless.

The police official said someone at the airport alerted authorities after deeming the box suspicious as it rested on top of a garbage receptacle in the departures lounge.   

In yet another eco-travels story of note, two of SA’s iconic NatGeo Explorers in residents Beverly and Derek Joubert are on the road to recovery following a charge by a wild buffalo - according to a statement released over the weekend.

The award-winning South African documentary filmmakers were charged by the buffalo while they were walking to dinner in their camp in the Okavango-delta in Botswana two weeks ago. Both were injured, Beverly quite severely and had to be admitted to ICU after the incident on 4 March.

'Derek suffered bone fractures while the horn caused extensive damage to Beverly' 

"Dereck suffered some bone fractures, but Beverly was seriously injured, with the horn causing extensive damage. Dereck’s actions that night certainly saved her at that point.

"Four operations later, and the revelation that major arteries, organs and her spine were all miraculously missed, it’s become clear that Beverly has fought fiercely and finally seems to be out of immediate danger."

Relatives, friends and fans alike are relieved Beverly Joubert  is on the road to recovery demonstrating her fierce spirit by telling doctors that she needed to heal fast because she has rhino to move.

"This is a statement typical of her undeniable strength and one which warmed our hearts because we knew she would never give up easily and that her first thoughts as usual were for the wildlife she has spent her life protecting." See more about the project below.

SEE:  Great Plains conservation calls for public aid to relocate rhino

Durban calculates cost as tidal-wave hit beaches re-open

Following the tidal waves that left Durban beach front ruined last weekend, the city's municipality has confirmed that almost all beaches are open, except for two.

EThekwini Municipality says the beach clean-up operations and shark net installations are still on-going at City beaches, following strong tidal waves that wreaked damaged infrastructure along the promenade.

"All City beaches, excluding Country Club and eThekwini beaches are currently open. While Battery Beach has been re-opened it will be closed in the event of a high tide, the City says.   The last remaining nets have been installed at eThekwini and Lagoon beaches on Friday, 17 March after seven went missing due to the intense tidal waves.  The extent of the damage still being calculated.

KwaZulu-Natal’s beaches stood out SA's blue flag nominations in 2017 and hopefully repairs and clean-up operations can be done speedily as WESSA announced that blue flag beach applications have opened up.

The voluntary eco-label has  become a global symbol of quality for beaches, boats and marinas as it focuses on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to provide environmental education, raise awareness and promote sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach managers. 

PICS: 50K spectators enjoy Cape Town Carnival Amaza Ocean Odyssey fabulousness

The Cape Town Carnival has become a highlight of note on the annual events calendar in South Africa and this Saturday's event was no different. Thousands of spectators were treated to a dazzling music, dance and costume parade, as the Cape Town Carnival wound its way along the Green Point Fan Walk, much to the delight of more than 50K spectators. Take a look at some of the amazing pics here…  And there could not have been a better theme this year, as “AMAZA! – Ocean Odyssey”, celebrates precious oceans and the need to preserve water.

SEE: Western Cape drought: 5 images sum up why it's been declared a disaster

“With Cape Town in the middle of a serious drought, this year’s water-related theme comes at the perfect time to create awareness in a fun and colourful way,” said Cape Town Carnival creative director Brad Baard.

DON'T FORGET: National Water Week will be taking place from 20 to 26 March in accordance with the international Water Day on 22 March

What to read next on Traveller24:

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Kruger Quick Guide: A first-timer’s guide to SA's iconic wildlife destination

Kruger with the kids: How to make the most of this popular day trip