Buffalo, lions and my passenger door….
It was a mild morning in the month on November. I had a group of six very enthusiastic and overly excited Spanish tourists, geared out with camera’s, binoculars, hats, water and an abundance of anticipation for their first game drive on my open vehicle. As always, I was excited and ambitious as to how our day in Kruger will play out, giving my guests the best experience of their lives. After a very early morning wake up call, we set out on our full day safari.
We entered the park at one of the most Southern gates of Kruger called Crocodile Bridge gate. My guests were overwhelmed by their first sighting of Impala, giraffe, zebra, elephant, wildebeest, kudu and many bird species. As a guide I absolutely love it when my guests are so enthusiastic and thrilled to spot many animal species. That is why I chose this career, to share the magic of Africa with people all around the world. It makes me happy.
I decided to travel on the gravel road from Crocodile bridge gate to Lower Sabi Camp where our breakfast stop was. It was surprisingly quiet with hardly any other cars and tourists on the road, it was wonderful, felt like we had the whole park to ourselves. My guests were fantastic, each impala (there are hundreds in Kruger which means you constantly see them), elephant, water buck, warthog and bird fascinated them.
We were approaching an open area with not much vegetation when I picked up movement from the corner of my eye to a North-Westerly direction. I approached with caution and to our surprise and amazement we came across 6 lions. As we approached them, I realised they were busy hunting a buffalo cow. There was huge excitement and a tad nervousness on my vehicle amongst my guests.
I kept a safe distance from the lions and the buffalo, I never interfere or get too close to the animal’s personal space. I only had my then Blackberry phone on me with a bad quality built in video recorder to film the battle between lion and buffalo panning out in front of our eyes.
The next moment the buffalo looked up in our direction and started running full speed towards my vehicle with all the lions still dangling off it. I didn’t have time to start my engine to drive away. I reacted quickly by telling my guests to please sit down and not move around as the buffalo approached us. This all happened in split seconds. The next moment the buffalo slammed into my passenger door (no one was sitting in the passenger seat), making me drop my phone on impact. (Watch video attached) My door was severely damaged. The sound of the impact sounded like a high-speed car crash. Lions flung off the buffalo, my guests were in shock and the adrenalin was pumping. The buffalo calmly turned around and walked away as the lions ran away after the whole ordeal. I am sure the large bang, loud sound and vehicle made them flee.
I must admit my heart was pumping in my throat, combined with disbelief and total excitement. My guests were overwhelmed and couldn’t stop talking about it.
This experience was the topic of discussion around the campfire for the duration of their stay in Kruger. I am blessed and truly grateful that things panned out as they did and that no one got hurt.
An experience neither I nor my guests will ever forget.
Never a dull moment out in the wild.
*Video below, apologies for the poor quality*