Wild animal travel: Where the hunter becomes the hunted

There’s nothing quite like seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat. It’s why people go on safari in South Africa to see lions and elephants, trek through the jungles of Borneo in search of monkeys, and submerge themselves in steel cages off the coast of Baja California to swim with Great White sharks. But it’s important to remember that despite the precautions taken by tour guides and rangers, these are still wild animals and getting close to them in nature carries some risks. In other words: there’s a reason that safari guide carries a gun.

Forbes Traveler has put together a list of “10 Places Where Animals Eat You”, a collection of destinations where the danger of visiting wild animals in nature is greater. Among the spots that made the list are Khao Sok National Park in Thailand, where cobras kill several hundred people per year; South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, where aggressive hippos have been known to flip boats and even eat people; and Ranthambhore Bagh, India, where around 100 people are attacked by tigers each year.

The article goes on to detail other encounters with wild animals, like when the girlfriend of a Tanzanian guide had her sleeping bag dragged 30 yards by a lion, while she was sound asleep in it. It seems animal attacks can happen almost anywhere though, and the danger certainly won’t stop most people from visiting these areas to see wild animals up close. You may just want to think twice about wandering too far away from your guide.

Can’t decide where to eat in a city? Urban Spoon to the rescue!

How many times have you randomly chosen a place to eat and it’s turned out to be a waste of time, taste-buds and money — when you just wished you had read a review or two before walking in? This happens to me ALL the time.

A quick skim through Urban Spoon before you choose where to eat and you might just save yourself from the agony of eating bad food or paying a ridiculous bill. Not only will you be able to find a plethora of options, but all of them have time-critical reviews and ratings pulled from various local news sources like Time Out, New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post — depending on the city you choose. Alongside media reviews, you can also see reviews and votes from bloggers and friends. And, of course, they have your standard top 10 / top 100 lists.

The search for restaurants is pretty advanced: other than being able to find a place basis price, neighborhood and type of food, you can also pick a place basis whether it’s romantic, open late night, kid-friendly, vegan friendly, has home delivery, if the food is gluten-free, and even if the place has happy hour! Is that cool or is that cool!?

The site reminded me of MetaCritic, but for restaurants. However, unfortunately the site is restricted to cities in the US and Canada, but nevertheless it looks like a useful resource.

Traveller’s Must: The Go-To Safety Food

When I travelled through Thailand, I saw a western-style restaurant that had a big sign saying, ‘Tired of chili ring sting? Eat here!‘ While a bit crude (but true), it was an effective draw for tourists who aren’t used to eating spicy Asian curries every day and simply wanted something bland; something from home.

After talking about eating pizza in Thailand, I got to thinking — I’ve had pizza in a lot of places. Every country I’ve been to, in fact. Except Korea and Cambodia, but even then I had spaghetti and meatballs, which is somewhat similar in it’s Western-ness. Pizza, for me, is my go-to food, what I eat when I don’t want to be adventurous and am simply craving a taste from home.

I think everyone has a ‘safe’ food that makes them feel a little bit less homesick when travelling. An overseas comfort food, if you will. For my mom, when she was trekking through the middle of Africa in the 70s, it was mashed potatoes. For my friend Jenny, it’s plain rice with a bit of butter. For Cheryl, it’s McDonald’s chicken nuggets. So, indulge me, and let me know what your’s is — that way, I won’t feel so silly for eating pizza when surrounded by Pad Thai and ancient Buddhist temples.