Tourist killed by lions while showering at Zimbabwe fishing camp

Five lions attacked, and a tourist died. Washing himself at an outdoor shower, Pete Evershed had no idea what was coming. Enjoying a vacation in Zimbabwe, he took advantage of the fishing camp’s outdoor shower shortly before dark. It was his last. Evershed was found by other guests who heard his screams – he had sustained serious neck wounds and would later die from a loss of blood.

According to a few of the locals, the lions attacked because tour operators have been luring them closer with meat … all in the interest of giving guests a closer look at the beasts. The Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force takes a different view, though claiming that lions are stuck competing with humans for food. Apparently, eight villagers fell victim to attacks like this one so far this year, according to an MSNBC report. The rise of fishing camps along the Zambezi River was also cited as a driver.

[photo by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr]

Namibia clamps down on poaching in national parks

There’s been a rise in poaching in Southern Africa in recent years. Hunters are killing rare animals and selling their pelts, ivory, and other body parts to a multibillion dollar international network of dealers. The southwestern African nation of Namibia, however, has managed to avoid this trend.

This is due to strong criminal penalties and new measures implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, with help from the United Nations. Namibia earns six percent of its GDP from people visiting the parks, which are rich in wildlife and beautiful scenery. Protecting the environment is a smart financial move in this developing nation, and because of this the government has more than tripled the parks’ budget in the past four years. Other African nations like Niger and Chad are hoping to cash in on the profitable safari business too, and are also cracking down on poaching.

The ministry has been hiring more staff to patrol the parks and supplying them with training and equipment. In Etosha National Park the government is setting up a radio communications system and has supplied the staff with boats so they can reach a part of the park that is cut off during the rainy season. This area didn’t get many patrols before and poachers had been taking advantage of this.

Etosha is one of Africa’s biggest and most popular national parks. Covering 22,750 square kilometers, it is home to lion, elephants, rhino, zebra–all in high demand on the illegal animal market–and hundreds of other species.

Tourists sue safari park when lions get too close

The Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, located northeast of Cape Town in South Africa, is being sued by eight British tourists who had a wildlife experience that was a bit more than they had bargained for. According to this story from London Times, the travelers are now seeking hundreds of thousands of British pounds in damages after suffering through a traumatic experience that left them bruised, battered, and shaken.

While visiting the park back in 2007, the group’s vehicle overturned, temporarily stranding them in the park, while a pride of lions closed in around them. Several of the occupants of the vehicle suffered injuries, including broken ribs and a variety of other bumps and bruises, all the while being eyed like lunch by the big cats, which actually came within a meter and a half of the frightened travelers. One of the lions even made off with a boot belonging to one of the tourists.

Eventually, the group was rescued by another safari vehicle that passed by, and now the 8 Brits are looking for £582,000 (roughly $955,000) in compensation, citing post-traumatic stress and emotional damages. The lodge, which is largest private game reserve in South Africa, says that it will fight the charges in court.

This story reminds me why it is a good idea to have travel insurance when heading into more rugged areas.

Sanctuary Swala reopens in Tanzania

The Sanctuary Swala Camp has just reopened in Tanzania, and the luxury destination is ready for guests. The $1.5 million rebuild has updated the retreat’s 12 canvas pavilions with covered open spaces, large living areas and en suite bathrooms. The indoor and outdoor showers sound particularly enticing to me. But, the best part is probably the view from the large private lounge decks, where you can check out a watering hole that features lions, leopards and bull elephants. If you’re a junkie for exotic nature, this should become the next destination on your itinerary.

Sanctuary Swala is located in a secluded corner of Tarangire National Park, which despite the attractions, is among the least visited in Africa. The high concentrations of unusual animals is certainly a draw, but this is also a great place to hide from the world for a while, and it’ll make for great water-cooler conversations upon your return.

To celebrate the reopening, Sanctuary Swala has a couple of deals – hey, if you’re going to go to Tanzania, it should be made as easy as possible. Book two nights, and the third is free, as long as you travel by November 30, 2009. If you can’t make that timeframe, the camp is holding its 2009 rates through 2010, with Game Package Rates starting at $440 per person per night (all inclusive).

Gadlinks for Wednesday 8.19.09

Hello from San Bartolo, Peru! The weather here is, well, misty/foggy/cold and the ocean outside my window (though pretty) is less than inviting today. So what have I been reading to pass the time? Here’s a little taste:

  • On the flight to Lima, I watched an episode of “Nature’s Great Events” about the Great Migration and was shocked by the lions’ hunting struggle during the dry season in the Serengeti. Then, reading this sad news that the lions of Kenya may be totally wiped out in 20 years makes travel to the region even more important. [via Reuters]
  • Antarctica may be a cool travel destination, but its precarious state due to climate change and increased travel to the area may force more measures to limit tourism down south — and that’s probably a good thing. [via TreeHugger]
  • This guys is nuts! Daniel Seddiqui intends to take on 50 jobs in the 50 states — all in 50 weeks. It could be interesting cultural study, but that’s a whole lot of traveling and probably a huge waste of time. Nevertheless, check out his interview. [via PeterGreenberg]
  • Talk about leaving your loved one behind when you travel! This video shows us just how important it is to communicate with loved ones while on the road. [via WorldHum]

‘Til tomorrow (pray for surf!), have a great evening!

More Gadlinks HERE.