Home

American Tourist Attacked By Hippo During Safari Tour In Zimbabwe

By Sharelle Burt

Share

How many people can say they survived an attack by a hippotamus in Zimbabwe? Kristen Yaldor can.

The 37-year-old was randomly attacked by a hippo who was protecting her babies while celebrating her birthday with a river safari tour with her husband. They were canoeing on Zimbabwe’s Zambezi River when one of the guides spotted the hippo on the right bank. The guide then told the adventurers to paddle to the left side of the river to avoid the animal, known for its aggression, especially during calving season.

Then, things suddenly took a turn for the worst. A hippo suddenly appeared under their canoe and flipped it over,  pulling the American tourist underwater as she was trying to swim to the riverbank. Her husband, Ryan Yaldor, was also thrown from the canoe and tried to swim back to shore. When he turned around to call for his wife, she submerged under water, her leg seen in the hippo’s mouth.

Fun fact: An average sized four-year-old child can fit inside a hippo’s mouth standing up.

RELATED: Tourists Told To Stop Swimming In Great Barrier Reef After Shark Attacks

To escape, Yaldor punched the hippo in the face several times, finally releasing her. Her husband helped her out of the water and the head guide reportedly administered first aid. She was airlifted to a clinic in Zimbabwe about 45 minutes later. The pressure from the hippo’s teeth caused a ragged fracture in Kristen Yaldor’s right femur. She has already had two surgeries but may need more in the future.


Wild Horizons, who hosted the excursion, gives customers a pre-safari safety briefing and instructions on how to properly use the canoe. In case of emergencies, backup vehicles follow behind the canoes and guides are always given cell phones and handheld radios for emergencies. The Yaldors said that guides weren’t able to reach anyone at the time of the attack, which caused a major delay in getting medical attention.

In a statement, Wild Horizons said that the company takes every safety precaution while on safaris. “We would like to stress that while our guides are expertly trained and qualified to manage trips such as these, and that every preparation is painstakingly made,” Wild Horizons said. “Nature is unpredictable.”

Share
Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

TSA Body Scanners Appear To Be Discriminating Against Black Women’s Hairstyles

TSA Body Scanners Appear To Be Discriminating Against Black Women’s Hairstyles

According to a detailed ProPublica report, full-body scanners frequently give “false alarms” on Black women’s hair, an action some women say is discriminatory. The millimeter wave machines, a whole-body imaging system used by the Transportation Security Administration, are highly prevalent at U.S. airports and other airports around the world. The TSA introduced full-body scanners at […]

Victoria M. Walker

‘Quit Your Job’ Campaign Promises All-Expenses-Paid Trip Of A Lifetime

‘Quit Your Job’ Campaign Promises All-Expenses-Paid Trip Of A Lifetime

Ever dreamed of quitting your job and traveling around the world? Maybe you’ve even rehearsed your dramatic last-day monologue to your boss or have already mapped out your global takeover.  If you could quit your job tomorrow and travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? The answer to this question could […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Could Airlines Start Secretly Weighing Passengers Before Flights?

Could Airlines Start Secretly Weighing Passengers Before Flights?

It may not be widely known that accurately calculating the weight of an aircraft is crucial to flight safety. Everything on board, including passengers, affects how much fuel is needed for the aircraft to safely get you to your destination. According to msn.com, airlines currently use an estimate for passenger weight based on gender: 205 […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin