Victoria Falls: the most beautiful place on earth
A place of peace, tranquility…..
And these guys:
This is the story of how Carmel got attacked by a baboon.
Yes, you heard me right. Carmel was attacked by a baboon at Victoria Falls. But first, I want to make a few things clear. I have been on safari 4 times in Tanzania and Botswana and have never seen or heard of a baboon attacking a person before without good reason. Sneaking into their car and eating their food- yes- but never actually touching someone. In fact, any of my encounters with baboons in the past have involved some super sneaky ground work on their part. This is usually followed by a quick getaway once they realise they’ve been caught. For this reason we took the guide’s words of “be careful of the baboons” to mean just that- be careful, don’t bring any food in your bag or on your person and don’t have anything visible that they might want to take.
Now, I’m not trying to be dramatic, but what happened to Carmel can only be described as an attempted mugging. Yes, that’s right, Carmel got mugged by a baboon, or he tried his best anyway. He tried his best 3 times in fact!
First attempt: shaken but not stirred
The first time the large male baboon approached us we kept our bags close and walked away quickly to the nearest group of people. He came way too close for comfort. We didn’t hear him until he was right beside us and gave us a bit of a scare, nothing major. We felt a bit dramatic asking a young family could we tag along with them but seriously, this guy was huge. Safety in numbers and all that!
Second attempt: close but no cigar
The second time, we all knew he had his eye on Carmel. He came straight for her. Luckily she managed to hide. He got away with a packet of tissues from our new friend’s backpack. A little more shaken, but we had survived our second baboon approach. We also had a new bond with this random family and decided to continue to stick together.
Third time lucky (or unlucky for us!)
The third time it happened there was no sneaking around. The same large male literally looked Carmel in the eye as he jumped on top of her, pulling at her handbag! I know they tell you to hand everything over. However, it’s a different story when you are faced with the very real prospect of handing over your passport, cards and money to a baboon!
What happened next, I’m not proud of.
While Carmel hung tight myself and my new friend hugged each other and screamed the place down. (Sorry to anyone whose peaceful encounter with the Falls I ruined!) I know I should have helped in some way but did I mention this guy was huge?! It felt like a minute but was probably only 10 seconds when the one of our new friends came to see why his wife was screaming and hugging a random Irish girl. The baboon decided to cut his losses. We and the baboon ran our separate ways.
After this we armed ourselves with some huge sticks to shake at the baboons and it did the job. People looked at us like we were crazy but as we got further along the trail more and more people were carrying sticks.
We eventually made it to the safety of Victoria Falls Bridge where we could relax and enjoy the view.
Taxi to the Falls: 50 Kwacha
Victoria Falls entry fee: 300 Kwacha
Seeing your friend giving a baboon a piggy back: Priceless.