Friday, November 16, 2012

South Africa: Tourist Injured, Hospitalized After Attack by Rhino with Calf While on Walking Tour

According to AFP, a group of morning hikers were being escorted by armed rangers in South Africa's (SA) Kruger National Park on Monday (November 12), when a white Rhino with calf charged a German tourist who sustained injuries to her ankles, ribs and bruises all over her body.

Fortunately, the injured woman was airlifted to a nearby hospital where she is still being treated.

COMMENT: Kruger National Park is South Africa's top destination for photo safaris and has one of the largest Rhino populations in SA.

Although guided trail walks at Kruger are a great way to see Rhinos up-close, my suspicion is that the victim in this case didn't realize just how CLOSE she would be to Rhinos.

While it is commendable that the Park offers guided walks, it is probably worth wondering just how many hikers have been injured in the past. 

Presumably, if the walks are under armed escort, that presupposes that there is a foreseeable risk to hikers, which potentially could result in rangers being forced to kill large animals unnecessarily.

I have personally been on a number of photo safaris in Africa and most insist that photographers remain in vehicles at all times while observing large wildlife.

Naturally, there are always going to be hikers who want to walk in wildlife parks so they can be close to the "action," but that doesn't mean that the practice is low-risk, particularly for older travelers who may not be as agile as in the past.

As I have mentioned in the past, most travelers who go abroad NEVER believe that they are going to end up in the hospital, but they often do.

Thus, I strongly urge all tourists and travelers to subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation coverage to avoid having to pay for all treatment in cash before treatment. Such coverage usually runs less than $10 a day, which is well worth the investment.