About 7 years ago in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve there was a very unfortunate incident with one of our staff members involving a buffalo bull. (For privacy reasons I will call the staff member “Alfred”, which is not his real name)
Our bush-clearing team which consisted of 7 men were out in the reserve opening up an area which had been totally encroached by Flaky thorn (acacia exuvialis).
At about 5 o’clock that afternoon it was time to return back to the lodge. Their transport which was a tractor had broken down and there was no time to try and fix it, as the sun would soon be setting. They had no radio contact at all with the lodge, so there was no choice other than to walk back home.
On the way back they could see in the distance a herd of about 250 buffaloes crossing the road ahead. Once the herd was out of sight the bush-clearers continued down the road, unaware of dangerous situation they were about to encounter.
When they reached the point where the buffaloes had crossed earlier, to their surprise there was still one more buffalo just meters away from them!
As soon as the buffalo got sight of the seven men it came charging at them with the intention to kill! The men scattered in all directions, running for the closest trees to climb and get out of reach from the buffalos thrashing horns.
One of the men (Alfred) was just too slow and before he could climb a tree in time the buffalo rammed straight into him with its horns. The buffalo dug its horn into Alfred’s stomach, just below the ribcage and then flipped him backwards over his back. Upon landing Alfred fell into a hole, possibly an aardvark burrow.
The buffalo intent on finishing the job came back again, thrashing with its horns to try and throw Alfred once again.
Alfred had the advantage of being in the hole as the buffalo couldn’t quite reach him and every time it got to close he started hitting the buffalo in the face with his elbows!
Eventually the buffalo realised he was fighting a losing battle and then turned around and walked off.
Once the buffalo bull was totally out of sight the other men left the safety of the trees to help Alfred back to the lodge a quick as they could. They wrapped clothing around his stomach to slow the blood loss and to keep his intestines from falling out.
Fortunately they were not too far from home and in no time the owner of the lodge flew Alfred in his plane to the closest hospital for assistance.
Alfred was very lucky to survive the buffalo attack but he spent the next 3 months in and out of hospital with all sorts of infections as a result of the buffaloes dirty horns been pushed into his body.