Africa is a beautiful continent blessed with diverse species of fauna, flora and a multitude of peacefully coexisting cultures making it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Anyone who has never been to Africa may mistakenly harbor the fear that wild animal attacks are commonplace and rampant but nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, wild animal attacks are rare. Most safari expeditions are led trained and experienced tour guides who will keep you safe as you enjoy the sightly views of Africa’s most wild and ferocious animals. However, in the odd event that a wild animal attack occurs the following animals are most likely going to be the culprits and here is how to survive such attacks.
The hippo is Africa’s deadliest man killer. This could be due to the fact that male hippos are extremely territorial and will defend their territory from any perceived threat all means. Female hippos launch attacks when they feel their young ones are in some way threatened especially when one comes directly between a mother hippo and her young ones. Despite their big build and their heavy weight, hippos can run at speeds of over 30 kilometers per hour.
When in hippo territory the first thing one should remember is that hippos are easily startled and this can be a cause of attack. Stick to open areas and avoid dense vegetation to avoid unexpectedly running into a hippo and startling it. When boating, hit the side of the boat to announce your presence. Usually, hippos are disinterested in humans so long as they are aware of their presence and they maintain a respectful distance. If a hippo charges at you do not bother trying to outrun it as hippos can be really fast. Head for cover be it a car, rocks or behind a tree. Lastly, do not stand between a hippo and a source of water. Be aware of near sources of water and if you notice dung signs you are probably walking along a hippo path and you should change your course immediately.
Mosquitoes may not necessarily be the stuff of nightmares with sharp canines, long claws, ridiculous strength or pointed horns but they are as deadly as any other creature on this list. Mosquitoes kill millions worldwide every year through the spread of malaria and dengue fever among other diseases.
Insect repellant is an effective tool for keeping mosquitoes at bay. Sleeping under a mosquito net is also helpful. Wearing light-colored clothes reduces your chances of getting bitten a mosquito. Also, wear long sleeved clothes whenever possible to cover up your skin. The good news is malaria is a treatable disease if you, unfortunately, contract the disease.
3. AFRICAN ELEPHANT
Elephants can be unpredictable especially older bulls and young males which can charge unprovoked. Elephants kill trampling on the victim and are especially aggressive when one comes between them and their young ones. To add to their erratic nature, elephants sometimes do mock charges to scare you off. However, it is unlikely that one would be certain whether it is a real charge or a mock charge.
If an elephant charges most experts will tell you that you will have more chances of survival if you stand your ground while remaining as still as possible. This will cause the elephant to see you as non-threatening. Turning your back and running encourages the elephant to chase you. If you are unable to hold your nerve and find yourself running it is advisable that you run in a zigzag manner as elephants find it hard to change direction due to their bulky build. One can also throw something like a jacket or a cap as a decoy. If the elephant is further away from you, making loud noises, for example, with your car may deter an attack.
4. THE BLACK MAMBA
The black mamba is one of Africa’s most feared snakes. Adult black mambas grow to an average length of 2.5 meters. Black mambas are also fast and can reach speeds of 12 km/h. Their most devastating trait is their ability to strike multiple times in one attack. They are highly venomous and should be avoided at all costs.
In case of an encounter, the best thing to do is to keep your distance and walk away. It is advisable to wear thick leather boots with snake leggings to protect your feet from a snake bite. Avoid areas with tall grass and do not go around turning stones and logs. In the unfortunate event that one gets bitten the most important thing to do is to remain calm as a racing heart spreads the poison faster through the body. Secondly, call for emergency services immediately as getting an antivenom administered is your best chance of survival. Do not try to suck the poison out of the wound as it could get absorbed in the mouth or in turn bacteria from the mouth could infect the wound.
5. THE NILE CROCODILE
Crocodiles can be found in most major rivers and lakes in Africa. They kill their victims snapping at them with their razor sharp teeth and dragging them underwater where the victim drowns. Most attacks happen along the shores of rivers and lakes.
To avoid an attack it is best to stay clear of places known for their crocodile population. If you happen to see a crocodile it is best to walk away and avoid confronting it. If the crocodile charges at you the best thing is to take to your heels and run for your life. Crocodiles are slow on land and one can easily outrun them. However, if a crocodile catches you surprise and bites you your best defense is to attack its eyes until it lets go. If there are standers the best they can do is hit the crocodile on the head with sticks and what not until it lets go. If the situation is direr and the attack happens in water, a crocodile’s weakest point is the palatal valve behind its tongue which you should attack to force the animal to let go and retreat.