The Lion Hugger of Serengeti: Leopard Tours Speaks Out

The case of the slapdash tourist flinging open car door in the wild before proceeding to caress an approaching lion in Serengeti, continues to cause uproar from around the globe.

In reaction to that, the management of Leopard Tours, which operates from Arusha, is finally releasing its own statement regarding the incident, albeit a very belated one.

He almost hugged the Wild Cat

Apparently, according to the statement, the reckless traveler was actually intending to jump down to the ground, from the stationary car, just as the Lion approached the Land-cruiser.

We were shocked, like everyone else in the travel industry and the public that follows our activities, when we learned about our guest attempting to touch a lion while game viewing in Serengeti National Park. The Management of Leopard Tours condemns the action of the guest who endangered his own life, that of the driver-guide sitting next to him, and the safety of the other guests in the safari vehicle.

Leopard Tours Company

Rules and Regulations of Tanzania National Parks are very clear and what happened is not allowed at all.

Visitors are supposed to observe and experience nature without disturbing wild animals in any way.

The guest and other members of the group in the safari vehicle were briefed about the National Parks regulations by the driver-guide before starting their tour and we are at a loss how this could have happened.

So, What Exactly Happened?

“There were six guests in the safari vehicle traveling as a group, five in the passenger cabin and one sitting in front next to the driver-guide, watching lions in the Serengeti.

Suddenly the guest in front opened the car door.

The driver-guide was shocked, and reacted by pulling him as he leaned over to touch a young lion passing near the vehicle.

The guest used force to reach out and touch the lion on its back, even as other members of the group tried to stop him.

The guide managed to hold him back from tipping over and closed the door.

Tourist flings car door open as a Lioness approaches

The guide discontinued the game drive and drove back to the lodge.

He reported the incident to the Management of Leopard Tours who then called the Tanzania National Parks’ Management for further action.”

According to the Tour Company

“The situation was completely beyond the control of the driver-guide!” Says Leopard Tours.

“He did what he could do considering he was taken by surprise and did not expect this could ever happen in the National Park.

We also find it not reasonable to hold Leopard Tours responsible for actions of the passenger who was properly briefed about National Park regulations.

The driver-guide desperately tried to save the tourist’s life and that of other passengers.

The driver is a well-qualified guide with over 10 years’ experience in tour guiding. The driver-guide holds a Certificate in Wildlife Management and Tourism from the highly acclaimed Mweka College of African Wildlife Management.”

Winds up the Statement from the Arusha-based, Tour Company.

Note That: There was no mention of the tourist’s identity nor their driver’s names.

Read More About the Serengeti Incident Here