Attempt to take close up picture of young born hippo results in tourist’s death


Sad news are coming out of Kenya that a Chinese tourist has died in a local hospital, where she was taken last night after being attacked by a hippo while attempting to take a close up photograph of a young born.

The tragic accident happened in the grounds of the Lake Naivasha Country Club around 9 p.m. when the guest left her room to approach a young baby hippo grazing, which prompted the mother hippo to rush her and maul her in protection of her offspring. Although the injured guest was promptly rushed to a nearby private health facility, she sadly passed away as a result of the injuries sustained.

A source close to the management of the club reassured this correspondent, that all guests are informed about the dangers of walking out of rooms at night, and that askaris – night watchmen employed by the club – are available on request from guests to safely escort them to and from the public areas after nightfall.

Information displayed on the notice board of the club, but also in the rooms, warns of wildlife straying from the lake into the park like sprawling gardens, and game, while seen well during the day, at night can stay concealed in the dark.

This is a very unfortunate accident which everyone regrets. Guests however are cautioned not to walk at night unless accompanied by a guard and for sure not to leave the lit walk ways and wander into the open grounds. Approaching a young born hippo is not something a tourist should do, in fact a tourist should never approach wildlife close up. Mothers fiercely protect their young in the wild when they think their young are threatened. The decision by the deceased could have been spontaneous after seeing the baby hippo outside her window, not remembering what she was told to avoid. It is a sad moment’.

This correspondent has in the past often visited the Lake Naivasha Country Club and recalls being specifically told about the Do’s and Dont’s when walking around during the day, but more so at night. Accidents with wildlife of such a fatal nature are very rare in Kenya, as they are across Eastern Africa, mainly due to the constant reminders by tour guides and safari lodge staff how to avoid getting into close contact with wildlife. At Lake Naivasha, where hippos are common and known to come out of the water at night in search of pasture, all lodges observe a strict protocol with guests and brief them accordingly. Condolences are expressed to the family and friends, and fellow travelers of the deceased lady.

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