If you are on a travel trip and encounter a wild animal, these are some of the things to consider. Picture: Adrian Rorvik for INL.

For some the idea of encountering a wild animal seems absurd, but anything can happen when you travel. Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI, shares some tips for people for when they are confronted by a wild animal: 

  • Keep your distance from them and avoid interfering in their activities, or handling them, as far as possible. 
  • When in nature be aware of your surroundings and of potential threats. If driving in a game park or reserve, do not get out of your vehicle and stay a safe distance from animals, for example elephants crossing the road. Ensure your vehicle windows are closed when wild animals are about. 
  • If you visit rivers, lakes or estuaries find out if animals such as crocodiles and hippos are present and if so, maintain a safe distance from riverbanks. Keep in mind that hippos do travel some distance from the water to feed. Try to avoid coming between them and the body of water, and stay away from hippos that have calves.
  • Consider wearing protective clothing such as snake protection leg gaiters when walking in areas where venomous snakes are known to be prevalent. 
  • It should be noted that an infectious disease such as rabies can make pets and wild animals behave abnormally and, in some cases, lose their fear of humans. Avoid animals that may be behaving strangely and/or in an over-friendly or docile manner.  
  • Be aware that even the cubs of animals such as lions, leopards and tigers are powerful and can easily injure people, and particularly children. 
  • Keep the numbers of emergency services providers at hand in case of emergencies.