“Keep your windows closed” is the instruction on a big sign at the entrance to The Lion Park situated 30km (19 miles) north of Johannesburg. Ignoring this created the scenario for an accident waiting to happen, and it did, to American tourist Katherine Chappell, an Editor on Game of Thrones series.
Ironically she was in South Africa on a philanthropic trip, but like many visitors, she didn’t grasp the danger of lions in close proximity. Even though she was guided by a tourist guide who should have known better, she had her window down photographing a lion, while a lioness sidled along the car right up to her open window. The photo above was taken by tourists in another car moments before the accident happened. The rest….well, is tragic! Katherine was grabbed around the neck by the lioness and efforts to prize open the lion’s jaws on the part of the driver couldn’t save her life. She paid the highest price for a small mistake.
But please remember that you are more likely to die in a car accident in your own neighbourhood than you are from getting mauled by a lion. There aren’t even any statistics for lion-related injuries, while we do know that 1.3 million people are killed in car crashes each year. I hope this puts it in perspective for you, so that it doesn’t even cross your mind to worry about coming on safari.
Car Window vs Open Vehicle – what’s the difference?
I’ve seen some comments on Trip Advisor talking about this tragedy, with people asking what’s the difference between an open car window and an open-sided safari vehicle. Let me explain……at the beginning of a game drive, your ranger will instruct you to keep seated and not stand up at any time and not to lean out or dangle your arms out. This is because predators see the vehicle as one entity and you don’t want to break that visual impression. The safari vehicle is also a lot higher than cars and even SUVs.
How to Keep Safe
Do what your guide tells you!
I’ve been on over 200 safaris and have survived so far! If you have any questions for me leave a comment below.
Happy Travels….Carrie Hampton aka Safari Tart