The team from Inyati Game Lodge are pleased to announce a substantial refurbishment of the lodge, which is set in the western sector of the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
Major structural renovations of the central recreational areas include an extension of the main veranda area to capitalise on the uninterrupted scenes of the Sand river and its rich game viewing opportunities.
The expanded dining area has been fitted with comfortable but practical fittings to ensure a more spacious entertainment experience that enables guests to take full advantage of the spectacular riverfront location.
The traditional open-aired boma has been completely rebuilt to create a warm, inviting space where guests can enjoy dining under the magnificent African night sky while enjoying Inyati’s hearty, home-style cuisine.
At the same time, all eleven rooms have gained a beautiful soft upgrade with a new colour palette of luxurious furnishings and indulgent outdoor showers have been added to all the standard chalets.
As part of the lodge’s aim to provide a comprehensive and authentic bush experience, Inyati rates now include a selection of house beverages in addition to the two game drives per day, guided safari walks, fishing, all meals, high tea and Wi-Fi.
The enhancements have given the lodge a modern facelift while retaining the classic safari style and relaxed family atmosphere that guests have enjoyed for the past three decades.
INYATI GAME LODGE EARNS 2018 TRIPADVISOR CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE
SABI SAND RESERVE, MPUMALANGA – Thursday, 24 May 2018– Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand reserve today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. Now in its eighth year, the achievement celebrates businesses that have earned great traveller reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.
Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s guests. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”
“TripAdvisor is excited to announce the recipients of the 2018 Certificate of Excellence, which celebrates businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travellers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition allows us to publicly honour businesses that are actively engaging with customers and using feedback to help travellers identify and confidently book the perfect trip.”
The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.
Set on the lush banks of the Sand River, Inyati Game Lodge offers the ultimate safari experience combining diverse wildlife with authentic African hospitality. From the warm welcome you receive upon arrival, to our comfortable chalets, hearty home style cuisine and highly experienced guides, every guest departs with unforgettable memories and the imprint of Africa in their soul.
About TripAdvisor TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, enables travellers to unleash the full potential of every trip. With over 600 million reviews and opinions covering the world’s largest selection of worldwide travel listings – approximately 7.5 million accommodations, airlines, attractions and restaurants – TripAdvisor provides travellers with the wisdom of the crowds to help them decide where to stay, how to fly, what to do and where to eat. TripAdvisor also compares prices from more than 200 hotel booking sites so travellers can find the lowest price on the hotel that’s right for them. TripAdvisor-branded sites are available in 49 markets, and are home to the world’s largest travel community of 455 million average monthly unique visitors**, all looking to get the most out of every trip. TripAdvisor: Know better. Book better. Go better.
* Source: comScore Media Metrix for TripAdvisor Sites, worldwide, November 2017
Inyati Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve – Winner of the Wildlife Encounters category @ the Provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards 2016 – Mpumalanga.
“Being awarded the 2016 Lilizela Tourism Award for the Visitor Experience category – Wildlife Encounters in #Mpumalanga for a third year in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”
Billed to recognise only the best in the South African tourism industry, the Lilizela Tourism Awards aim to recognise and reward the highest levels of excellence in the tourism value chain. They are the ultimate reward for entrepreneurial and service excellence that sets global benchmark standards.
The National Winners will be announced at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on 16th of October 2016.
In 2011, Inyati Private Game Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve issued over 12 000 phantom shares, equivalent to five percent of the company, to its employees in a bid to reward staff loyalty and retain employee talent.
In 2016 the staff have now received their 3rd dividend pay-out.
“Our staff play an important role in the success of the lodge and we look forward to sharing future growth with them”. says Carlos Dos Santos, Director of Inyati.
Inyati is set within the Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The lodge is situated on the banks of the Sand River allowing for fantastic game viewing from the lodge. Home to the ‘Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), as well as cheetah, wild dog and hundreds of other species of animals, birds and plants indigenous to the area. Our highly trained and experienced guides and trackers ensure that your safari experience ranks amongst the best in Africa.
From the second we came across the Inyati Game Lodge in our search for the perfect South Africa safari accommodation we were certain it was the perfect luxury safari retreat for us. We had a short and undemanding list of requests: luxury accommodation, good food, drinks and company and the best chance of sighting the big 5. It’s not much to ask really! After a glorious morning spent exploring the Panorama route we arrived at Inyati. With its amazing rooms, fantastic rangers and the gorgeous surrounds of Sabi Sands we knew we were in for a treat on our first South Africa safari. We couldn’t wait to experience the best of what Inyati and Sabi Sands had to offer!
Inyati Game Lodge
The Inyati Game Lodge is located deep within the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and is situated on the banks of the Sabi River. After a morning of sightseeing on the Panorama route we couldn’t resist the safari call any longer and set off for our stay at Inyati. The heavy, end of summer rains had taken their toll on the gravel roads and it was a slow and bumpy ride to the Newington Gate of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The drive was soon forgotten as we turned the corner into the entrance of the gorgeous Inyati where the reception staff had assembled to greet us and whisk our luggage away. Welcome drinks awaited us and we were instantly transported into holiday mode! Bliss!
Welcome to Inyati! The lodge:
As we sipped our drinks we finally had the chance to absorb our incredible surroundings and we were absolutely blown away! The lodge itself is stunning and the African decor blends seamlessly with the surroundings of the Sabi Sands bush. The focal point of Inyati is the main lodge with its chill out lounge area and terrace and the views over the Sabi River are mesmerising.
Terrace views! The Sabi River: The grounds of Inyati:
It was time to check out our safari home and we were escorted to our Chalet, No 1, to settle in and freshen up before our first game drive. With only 11 rooms the lodge is intimate and luxurious, with the chalets dotted in clusters around the main lodge. We opted for a family chalet as we were travelling as a trio with my lovely mum accompanying Dave and I on the trip.
Our chalet was perfect and we instantly felt at home in Inyati. The room was spacious and we were spoiled with a huge King Size bed and two spacious doubles, one of which Dave used to tuck his beloved camera equipment in at night. Seriously! The room was equipped with everything we’d expect from 5* accommodations: a walk in closet, a generous sitting area, a well equipped mini bar and a beautiful bathroom. We knew we were in for a treat!
Our chalet:The room:The bathroom:The view from our room:
Game Drives at Inyati
Why we chose Sabi Sands and Inyati
The quality of the game drives and the frequent reported sightings of the Big 5 were the main reason we opted to stay at Inyati. Inyati is located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve which shares an open boundary with Kruger National Park meaning the animals roam freely between the two. Game drives take place in an open topped truck and the vehicles are allowed to go off road to get closer to the animals. It’s widely accepted that Kruger and Sabi Sands offer some of the best game drives in Africa, with Sabi Sands being particularly renowned for leopard spotting. It’s said the leopards are more relaxed in the Sabi Sands surroundings.
The Inyati game trucks:
Our Game Drives at Inyati
Our pre lunch arrival on day 1 allowed us to enjoy four game drives, two morning and two evening, during our two night stay at Inyati. Morning drives required an early start with a 5am wake up call courtesy of a gentle knock on the door from our lovely guides!
In search of greatness:
There’s only one word to describe our game drives at Inyati: INCREDIBLE! Cheetahs, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, buffalos, impalas, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, warthogs, dung beetles, lizards and vultures. Our ranger George and tracker Solly were amazing in their pursuit to show us everything the Sabi Sands bush had to offer.
Our memories of our Inyati game drives are like scenes from a movie. It’s difficult to narrow down our favourite moments but sitting in the middle of a herd of 40 elephants as they made their way through the bush is one of our highlights. I still have to pinch myself when I think of that moment!
Our favourite Inyati sightings:
A leopard mama and her two month old cub:
The elusive cheetah:
Rhino bath time:A softer side to the king of the bush: Always watching us, the buffalo herds:Sniffing out a kill, the hyena: Meandering across our path, the lofty giraffe:
Wildlife on site!
Inyati is an unfenced game lodge meaning the wild animals can wander in and out of the property as they please. This was a real treat although it did mean that all our night time movements outside our room had to be accompanied by a ranger!
We woke up from a post breakfast nap to find a troop of monkeys with some bushbuck wandering among them on our private veranda. One of the monkeys went so far as to try and open our door and we were glad we’d heeded our arrival warning of locking the doors at all times! Another highlight came as we were leaving the lodge and a family of giraffe rambled alongside us! Returning guests regaled us with tales of lions wandering through the grounds on their previous stay but we weren’t so lucky. Here’s hoping for next time!
Do you mind if I come in?!
Food and drinks
Inyati rates are all inclusive meaning breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee and water are included in the price. Bar purchases were extra but the reasonable pricing was a pleasant surprise (we spent around US $15 to US $20 each on soft and alcoholic drinks over our 48 hours at Inyati). We were totally spoiled on the food front and our biggest fear, that we would starve in the bush, was totally unfounded as we enjoyed a constant supply of food! Our food schedule went something like this:
5:30am: pre game drive breakfast of pastries, fruit and museli served with tea, coffee, water and fruit juice.
7:30am: morning tea in the bush! Flapjacks, tea, coffee and biscuits during a quick bush stop on the morning safari.
9am: post game drive brunch with a delicious selection of cold and hot foods where we munched on salads, fruits, sausages, eggs, pastries and cereals.
As good as it looks! Brunch at Inyati:
1pm: a small lunch menu with toasted sandwiches and a snack is available during the day. Given the late breakfast indulgence it’s geared towards the arriving guests!
4pm: afternoon tea is served prior to the evening game drive.
Afternoon tea time:
6:30pm: the highlight of the day for us! Sundowners and savoury snacks watching the sun go down in the bush.
Gin and tonic sundowners, amazing company and this view:
8pm: dinner time! Dinner was a 3 course communal affair with delicious soup, meat, fish, vegetables and salads choices plentiful.
One of the highlights of our dining at Inyati was the rotating locations the team used. We enjoyed breakfast and dinner on the main terrace during our first meals but the real highlight was the outdoor dinner in the Boma, where at one point the background noise was a pride of lions roaring, and breakfast on the river terrace!
For us, staying at Inyati was all about the safari experience but the surroundings and facilities did much to add to our stay. The communal guest areas are beautifully equipped with relaxing seating, books and a television. A small gym is located on site and the outdoor pool is a lovely spot for relaxing between the drives.
Limited wi-fi is available around this main spot but it is very slow and this was a common occurrence across most of our South Africa travels. With all that was going on we weren’t bothered about having wi-fi so it wasn’t an issue!
The bar and chill out area:
We absolutely adored our stay at Inyati and from the moment we crossed the Newington Gate to enter Sabi Sands we were instantly transported into another world filled with the delightful sights and sounds of the South African Bush. The Lodge and its staff were incredible and we were totally spoiled for every second of our 2 nights in Inyati.
Staying at the lodge is a luxurious experience but the real star of the show is the Inyati game drives: the rangers and trackers are warm and funny and have an amazing safari knowledge allowing them to answer every random question we came up with! Of which there were many! Our dream of seeing the Big 5 was quickly realised and we made incredible bucket list memories which still give us goosebumps.
Worth the cost?
The private game reserves of Sabi Sands come at a price and we spent a lot of time considering our safari options. For us, the luxury, the experience and the private game drives are worth the extra cost. We couldn’t think of a more perfect spot to spend our first safari experience and, despite our reluctance to visit the same place more than once, we really, really hope to return to Inyati in the future!
Disclaimer: Inyati Game Lodge provided us with a media rate during our stay. Our opinions, as always, are our own.
With barely a sprinkle of rain this last month the animals are starting to feel the pinch. Grazing especially is hard, with the pathfinding females of the giant buffalo herds having to really on all their experience to lead their charges to the grass that remains, or two the grass responding to the light intensities turns green in anticipation of rain that never seems to come. Matriarchal elephants lead their families to the river and often three or four herds can be seen munching away on the Phragmites reeds, the newly established sedge grasses and other pioneer species. These plants are taking advantage the newly emerging islands in the river, and as such there are swathes of green all along the river. The crusty old dagga boys are so plentiful along the river, might as well open up a golf course for them.
The impalas have started lambing and it is open season for the carnivores. The wild dogs take at least three or four lambs every drive, the strategy is always the same at sunrise and sunset, the adults get up, play with the youngsters a bit and head off all in one direction and spread out. The first animal they see the chase it down and rip it apart in a few minutes, this whole process may only last 15 minutes or so as they are such efficient hunters. All you have to do is hope you are in the right place at the right time. The adults then return to the pups and regurgitate a portion of their meal for the pups. As such the dogs are always full and the pups are growing quickly as they have too; as it is a tough life to be a Painted Wolf.
Not to be out done the leopards are working day and night to keep up with the tally of the dogs. Tlangisa has had cubs but we haven’t found them yet, so she has a few mouths to feed.
Xhikavi’s little boy is still doing very well, he is still quite shy and takes a while to calm down to his mother’s level. He is ticking all the growth boxes though as she is a terrific hunter.
Magnificent Dewane leopard
Dewane is constantly putting pressure on his neighbors and as such we see him in the north a lot. Torchwood is often seen killing warthogs in the south and Schotia is steadily sailing her ship into her future. Basile and Khokovela are giving cameos in the north and seem to be embracing their newfound freedom with the grace we have come to expect from Tlangisa.
Basile (Tlangisa’s adult cub) Her name means the light one and is situated just North of the camp.
The bush is really dry and the river looks like it might run dry this year. So please pray for rain.
That’s all from Matt for this month. We thank you for spending few moments with us in the wilderness, sharing our experiences and joining our adventures. We are committed to keep you updated. Please follow our Facebook page for daily updates.
Regards, THE INYATI TEAM
Keith & Francis – Managers
George (Head Guide) & Solly (Tracker)
Khimbini (Senior Guide) & Rodger (Tracker)
Matthew (Senior Guide) & Nelson (Tracker)
This month’s sightings report compiled by Matthew Brennan. *Photographs by Khimbini, Keith and Matthew
The South African Tourism Industry spent the better part of last night honouring the crème de la crème of the sector. The industry hosted by the esteemed Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, were treated to an evening of splendour and entertainment from local musicians.
The Lilizela Tourism Awards, is a platform to celebrate service excellence in the South African tourism industry, and its third instalment did not disappoint.
Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. South Africa has, without a doubt, among the most service-orientated tourism industry on earth. Ours is an industry that’s characterised by excellence and by an intensely guest-focussed culture. Our industry is made up of a team of committed people whose passion is on show for all to see and experience.
In such an industry that takes product and service excellence to truly world class levels, the best of the best are recognised and honoured through the annual Lilizela Tourism Awards. These awards are not only an integral part of South Africa’s strategy to remain a globally competitive destination, but are pivotal to setting the excellence bar for the entire sector: giving all tourism businesses standards of excellence to aspire to and building South Africa’s reputation the world over as one of the best tourism destinations on earth.
Starting in the provinces where provincial champions are rewarded for their service excellence, national Lilizela Tourism Award winners are selected from the shortlist of provincial winners for the ultimate accolade of tourism excellence in the country at a glittering national event that attracts both the attendance and the attention of the industry, reflecting on a job well done.
Hosted by former Miss South Africa, now businesswoman Joanne Strauss and musician Stoan Seate of Bongo Maffin fame, last night’s Lilizela Tourism Awards have grown substantially since they were launched in 2013. This year, over 1 100 entries were received across all categories – making these awards far reaching and widely representative of the national tourism industry.
During the country-wide provincial awards, 219 tourism product owners and service providers in the industry were recognised and rewarded for their contribution to service excellence in tourism and upholding the promise of quality assurance.
Minister Hanekom, congratulated those who work in this ever growing industry in South Africa and commended them for contributing in the transformation and growth of the South African tourism industry.
South African Tourism Chief Executive Officer, Mr Thulani Nzima also congratulated the night’s finalists and winners.
“The contribution of tourism businesses nominated for the Lilizela Tourism Awards keeps the sector on an upward trend. We congratulate all the winners and hope they will continue to serve as tourism ambassadors by continuing to showcase the best of our country to the world as tourism continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors,” said Nzima.
Multi-award winning songstress, Lira; popular music band, The Soil together with Brenda and the Band added to the entertainment for this glamorous night.
“Being awarded the Lilizela award for the best wildlife encounter in #Mpumalanga two years in a row is a true source of pride for the entire team at Inyati Game Lodge ,” said Leighanne Dawkins, Marketing Manager at Inyati Game Lodge. “We are proud of our knowledgeable and passionate safari guides who are experts out in the field, and are the finishing touch to the fine quality of the Inyati safari experience.”
Grant Thornton were appointed as the independent auditors for this year’s Lilizela Tourism Awards.
Some highlights of recipients of these prestigious industry awards were:
Winner of ETEYA 2015 – Simeliza Tours
Winner of Best Social Involvement Programme – Large business – Aquila Game Reserve
Winner of the Five-star hotel – The Oyster Box Hotel Winner of the Wildlife Encounters award – Inyati Game Lodge
Tourist Guides winners – Nelson Maphaha and Michael Keith Jones
Recipient of the Minister’s Awards – Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo Managing Director of Birchwood Hotel.
For the full list of winners from last night’s awards ceremony, to view finalist and pictures, please visit the Lilizela Awards website, www.lilizela.co.za
Airlink’s “Lodge Link System” service, which will provide direct connectivity beyond the Skukuza and Nelspruit/Kruger airports to five of the most popular game lodge destinations in South Africa, is now available for sale in the Global Distribution System (GDS), on-line, as well as via travel agent and tour operator’s Computerized Reservations Systems. (CRS)
The Lodge Link System will initially connect the safari lodge airstrips located at Arathusa, Londolozi, Sabi Sabi, Singita and Ulusaba with Airlink’s multiple daily scheduled services operating into Skukuza and Nelspruit/Kruger (KMIA) airports.
In conjunction with its franchise partner South African Airways, Airlink’s Lodge Link System flights are now available for purchase worldwide in a single ticket transaction, hosted in the global booking platforms. This will provide the opportunity for enhanced seamless connectivity directly to and from lodges allowing multi carrier, multi sector itineraries to be constructed such as: London to Londolozi; Seattle to Singita; Singapore to Sabi Sabi; Ubatuba to Ulusaba; Athens to Arethusa, to name but a few.
Additionally, the combination of the new Lodge Link System service with Airlink’s regional and domestic flights, which operate between key leisure destinations such as: Cape Town and KMIA, Cape Town and Skukuza, Durban and KMIA, Johannesburg and Skukuza, Johannesburg and KMIA, Johannesburg and Maun, Johannesburg and Kasane, Johannesburg and Vilanculos, KMIA and Livingstone as well as Nelspruit and Vilanculos, will provide travellers to South Africa with unparalleled flexibility and choice when planning their journey’s on that Safari trip of a lifetime.
The new Lodge Link System will serve to complement Airlink’s already established and increasingly popular Cape Town and Johannesburg to Skukuza services. Since the re-opening of Skukuza airport on 2 June 2014, more than 33,000 travellers passed through its doors entrenching Skukuza as a key access point to the world-renowned Kruger National Park Eco leisure destination, and the exclusive Lodges in nearby private game reserves such as Sabi Sand and Timbavati.
Airlink’s Lodge Link System service has been implemented in a number of stages in line with anticipated market demand.
Services between Londolozi and Skukuza; Sabi Sabi and KMIA; together with a connection between Skukuza and Nelspruit airports with onward connections to Livingstone/Zambia as well as Vilanculos/Mozambique will commence operating on 1 July 2015.
Services between Ulusaba and Skukuza and Ulusaba and KMIA will commence on 1 August 2015. Ulusaba is an important air-strip as it provides access to a number of lodges in the area; Ulusaba’s Rock, Cliff and Safari lodges, & Beyond’s Exeter River and Leadwood lodges, Inyati Game Lodge, Leopard Hills, Savanna and Dulini.
As regards Arathusa and Singita, it is planned that services to these lodges will commence in September 2015. Arathusa is an important node in the north eastern portion of the Sabi Sand reserve and will provide access to the neighboring lodges such as Chitwa Chitwa, Cheetah Plains, Elephant Plains, Simbambili, Nkorho and Djuma Vuyatela
“Airlink is extremely proud to introduce its Lodge Link System service and to have the opportunity to build on the experience gained in re-establishing the Skukuza Airport last year. Skukuza has increased in popularity as a key access point to Southern Africa’s eco-leisure destinations. Seamless direct services ensure that travellers are able to maximize their time in the bush with minimum time spent in airport transits”, said Airlink CEO and Managing director Rodger Foster. He emphasized that the inclusion of KMIA as the significant node in the Lodge Link System network is paramount – “KMIA is an international airport where Airlink offers seven daily flights from JNB as well as daily flights from CPT and DUR and provides additional access to over-border destinations in Zambia and Mozambique. The Lodge Link System enjoys excellent global connectivity at KMIA given frequency and timing of flights and KMIA presents excellent potential for the Lodge Link System to grow”, he added. “Tourism is a key driver of the South African economy and Airlink feels privileged to play a role in developing this to the benefit of all stakeholders”.
Safety with lions on safari – Written by: Onne Vegter
Following the unfortunate incident at a lion park in Johannesburg recently where a woman was dragged from her vehicle and killed by a lion, the world’s media has been abuzz.
On social media, concerned tourists are asking whether it is safe to go on safari. Many have criticised the poor woman for leaving her car windows open in spite of the many signs warning her not to do so. However, if an open window is so dangerous, is it safe to go on a safari that uses open vehicles for game drives?
When we posted this photo on our Facebook page a while ago, we received some comments about how crazy and stupid these people were to be sitting in an open vehicle so close to a pride of wild lions.
Yet this kind of sighting happens every day all over southern Africa. These concerns about safety stem from a lack of understanding about where the recent tragedy occurred, and how the lion park differs from a regular wildlife safari.
Confusing potential tourists even more, news headlines around the world proclaimed: “Lion kills American tourist at a game park in South Africa”. We’ve seen the words game reserve, game park, nature reserve and safari park all used in connection with this incident. The truth is that this was not an African safari and did not happen in a game reserve. This attack happened at a small lion park, which is very different from a normal African game reserve. It is not the first time an incident like this has occurred in a lion park yet you never hear of lions dragging tourists off open safari vehicles in bigger game reserves like the Kruger National Park. Why is that?
A typical lion park is nothing like a game reserve such as the Sabi Sand Game Reserveor Kruger National Park. It is more like a glorified zoo that is big enough to drive through. The key issue in this case is that these lions are not entirely wild. These lions are kept in enclosures and have been raised in captivity (or in some cases rescued from abusive conditions). As cubs, they have probably been handled and photographed by humans. Lion cub interactions have received increasing criticism in recent times, and rightly so. However, such activities have traditionally been a key source of income for certain lion parks. When lions are raised like this and fed by humans, they lose their natural fear of humans and they learn to associate humans with food.
This is the critical difference between lions in a lion park and wild lions in a gamereserve. In game reserves, wild lions do not associate human beings with food. They are naturally fearful of humans and, unless you run away, they will not see humans as prey. They also do not associate vehicles with humans or with food.
For this reason, thousands of tourist game drives are conducted every day across Africa in open safari vehicles and involve many close encounters with wild lions and other predators. However, you never hear of tourists being attacked or dragged from their open safari vehicle.
A leopard like this can walk right past an open safari vehicle and does not even take a second look at the people in the vehicle – they are not seen as a threat and they are not seen as food. I’ve watched lions and leopards walk so close to the tracker sitting on the front that he could have reached out and touched the animal if he so wished.
The lion park has had similar incidents before, and the management is well aware of the dangerous nature of captive lions. This is why there are clear signs all over the park warning visitors not to alight from their vehicle or even to open their windows. Unfortunately, this tourist did not heed those warnings. Yet in the Kruger National Park, visitors have been driving around with open windows for many decades, and thousands have enjoyed close-up encounters with wild lions from the back of an open safari vehicle. Millions of tourists have safely visited Kruger in their own vehicles, and you never hear of lions dragging people from their cars there. Of course, there are rules in Kruger too. Do not alight from your vehicle. Do not disturb the animals. Do not feed the animals. Do not stand up or hang out of the vehicle. If you heed these rules, you will be perfectly safe.
After a tragic incident like this, misguided and hysterical reporting about the dangers of going on safari does incredible damage to tourism and, by extension, to wildlife conservation as so much of Africa’s conservation effort depends on income from tourism. African safaris have an excellent safety record and millions of people visit Africa every year to go on safari. As long as tourists obey the rules of the park they are visiting, it is absolutely safe to go on an open vehicle safari.
– See more at: http://africageographic.com/blog/safety-with-lions-on-safari/#sthash.qg3KMldg.tgIEtPoj.dpuf