By Julio Kiths
Travelling to new destinations should be exciting and memorable. Travelers become acquainted with new people; there are beautiful scenes and iconic buildings to see and photograph, exotic and flavourful cuisine to enjoy and of course, unique mementos to take home with you.
But sometimes, things do not go according to plan. You can fall sick, miss your flight, get your wallet or crucial documents such as passport stolen and in extreme scenarios, get injured in an accident or even die!
When things go wrong, it can stir panic, which inevitably worsens the situation. Travel gurus – people who have travelled the world and who live in the skies – advise you to calm down and regroup if you find yourself in a travel predicament.
But not many people follow this advice and the incident below illustrates how a simple safari can turn into a nightmare. An American tourist on his first visit to Africa has vowed never to return after a terrifying experience in the Masai Mara.
The retired teacher, 78, was alone in a certain famous camp in Masai Mara. He had visited Kenya to enjoy the wildlife in the national reserve. The old man declined to accompany other guests on a shared game drive ,insisting he wanted a van for himself, which he duly paid for.
After enjoying the evening game drive, the tourist was treated to a solo sundowner experience. He was having the time of his life until he excused himself for a short call in a nearby bush. He had hardly started the ‘call’ when a hyena cackled nearby, sending the frightened tourist scampering to the van with his ‘dragon’ dangling.
But the scare was far from over. As the van retreated to the camp, the heavens suddenly opened, sending heavy downpour accompanied by deafening thunderstorms. It was pitch black and the driver was having difficulties navigating in the conditions. He could barely see and soon, they were lost in the wild, animal-infested Mara.
With no visible landmark, no mobile network to call for consultation or help, the driver-cum-tour guide and his American tourist spent what seemed like eternity crisscrossing the Mara plains amid the roars of hungry lions, marauding hippos and lurking cheetahs until thankfully, help finally came from the camp.