Sporadic delays south of Zimbabwe’s border crossing at Chirundu into Zambia have again highlighted the dangers of venturing out on foot in an area teeming with big five game.
This emerged over the weekend after a man was badly mauled by three lions.
Although it was initially reported that he was a truck driver, it turns out he actually works at one of the lodges directly south of the border.
He was presumably busy with patrol work at the time of the attack.
A driver in the northbound queue witnessed the attacked and rushed to the man’s aid, managing to scare off the lions when he charged at them with his pickup truck.
The motorist in question subsequently rushed the person to a hospital across the border in Chirundu.
According to Mike Fitzmaurice, chief executive of the Federation of East and Southern African Road Transport Associations (Fesarta), the man is in a stable condition with severe lacerations to his chest and face.
He also broke an arm during the attack.
It’s not the first time wild animals have attacked people in the Hurungwe Safari Area.
Last March, when northbound congestion at the border resulted in traffic backing up for 15 kilometres or more, a truck driver was hospitalised in Harare after he was trampled by elephants.
Fitzmaurice said he had later died from his injuries.
Truck drivers and motorists heading north and getting stuck in the queue often have no recourse other than to step out in a wild area devoid of amenities.
Because of lengthy holdups in the past, drivers have had to camp out in their trucks, forced to cook and clean by the roadside.
This weekend’s attack once again shows how important it is to be extremely vigilant when waiting to cross certain notoriously problematic transits in the southern African region.