We often get asked if guests are safe in their tents at night when it comes to “the big 5”. The answer is yes – as safe as houses; here’s why:
Firstly the tent itself:
When animals look at a tent they don’t see a thin canvas skin with “food” inside it. Animals view things differently to us – they view the tent as if it was a solid block so the question of if they can get inside is a bit like a human asking if they can climb inside a block of cement. Animals have become accustomed to these solid structures and so are not curious about them, but they are not threatened by them either – the tents might as well be a block of cement as far as the animals are concerned.
Secondly animals view of humans:
Animals do not see us as food. Animals see us as a potential danger – not to be messed with. Our behaviour has a lot to do with how we are viewed. Think about it this way…
Imagine if you were the toughest bully on the playground. You have the most muscle and the worst reputation. One day you are walking down the corridor where you are used to the nerdy kids running and hiding from you when suddenly a scrawny nerd steps out and starts walking towards you. It would confuse you wouldn’t it? Why is everyone else scared of you except this easy target? You would assume he has a reason for being so brazen – maybe he is armed? Maybe he is some kind of martial arts training? Either way it is disconcerting and you would not want to start a fight until you knew more about why he is so bold. You might test him a little, but you would not want to start a fight until you knew more.
Let’s take this back to reality and use lions as our dangerous animal given their negative press of late. A lion would not want to risk attacking something that is obviously not scared of it – the consequences are far more extreme than the consequences to the bully. If the lion attacked it is not merely trying to avoid having its ego bruised – it’s determined to avoid injury. Injuries when you rely on your body being in top working order in order to eat are not worth the risk. The only time they would risk it is if they felt they had no other option.
When one does hear of dangerous animals attacking people there are always other reasons as to why it occurred – often the reason is because they have been hand reared and know “the nerdy kid” is an easy target not capable of causing injuries, or the animal is trapped and feels they have no other option.
When any dangerous animal grows up in the wild they must learn their limits or like anything else they will soon pay the ultimate price – death.
This is why your guide will say no matter what don’t run! By standing your ground you are telling the animal that you are more dangerous than it. We ensure our guides are there to walk with you after dark just to be safe.
Here’s the best bit
Dangerous animals are not bullies – yes they have lethal capabilities but they have no reason to try and hurt anyone. Their objectives in life are eating, drinking, reproducing and surviving…. There is no room in there for intimidating anything for the sake of it.
So sit back, relax and let us look after you.