The only country I've visited where I've not felt perfectly safe is South Africa. It's not just for one reason either. There are at least 3 reasons I'll try to cover over the next few blogs.
The first one I'll cover is the dangerous animals in the country. I did a self drive through Kruger National Park. You can hire Safari tours and the like but those are not my style if I can avoid them. I much prefer to drive myself.
In the park the animals are free range. You are in their environment. As a result, you must respect their habitat. Drive slowly (I have another story about that!), don't feed the animals, and don't harass them in any way.
But the biggest rule is never get out of the car. If caught you will be ticketed and thrown from the park. But more importantly you can be attacked. Lions, leopards, hyenas, and many more animals could attack before you ever see them.
But I admit I broke the rule a couple times. There are just not enough bathrooms to use in the park. And the park is huge! So occasionally I would find an open area where I could see for a long ways, quickly get out and do my business. I lived.
Rhinoceroses are my favorite animal to see. They're not all over the park so I'm delighted when I come across one. Usually they're at a distance. But this day I got lucky?? One crossed right in front of my car! Much closer than I was comfortable, but what can you do? I shot pictures of course (and prayed).
He started on my left hand side of the road.
Crossed the road in front of me.
Then lingered on the right side.
At one point I was unsure if he'd charge or not. But mostly he paid me no attention. No one else was near me so if he attacked it would be my car.
After the beast crossed, he stopped and took the biggest poop I've ever witnessed. I thought I was recording it but I never hit record. The excrement came gushing out like a fountain in copious amounts. It landed at least 5 feet away from its exit point. It was a sight to see (or not, depending on your perspective).
Video I did shoot:
Like I said, Kruger park is huge. When I was there I could drive a long time before seeing another vehicle. So you can really feel isolated in the wild with these animals.
I was especially apprehensive around the elephants. You never know what these unpredictable animals will do. When they're in their pack and close to your car, it got a bit scary for me. And you can certainly run into wild elephants outside the park as well as all the other animals.
That is one of the three reasons I never felt completely comfortable in South Africa. I'll cover the other reasons in the coming posts.