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“Black monster” gores Somerset West camper

An enraged buffalo attacked a Somerset-West man and his friend when they were camping in the Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape.  The friend was seriously injured in the attack and taken to the hospital only two hours later.

“He stormed at us like a huge, black monster. It happened so quickly,” was how Fouché Whitehead described what happened late on Tuesday afternoon. He was able to dive out of the way of the enraged buffalo. Then he focused on Ryno (Magson) and got hold of him.” Fouché Whitehead told Die Burger.

Mariska Spoormaker reports that after a major rescue operation lasting nearly 10 hours, Magson was admitted to a Port Elizabeth hospital in a critical condition.

His wife, Chaniti, said she was shocked and that she immediately thought of Johann Schmidt, also from Somerset West. He was trampled to death by a buffalo in the Bergkwagga National Park last year.  


Magson and Whitehead had been walking about 300 metres outside the Rooihoek campsite in the Baviaanskloof wilderness area when they came across the buffalo. After the attack, Whitehead immediately wanted to run to the campsite for help. “But I saw the buffalo was waiting for me in the bushes. Then I screamed and screamed until they [the other friends] heard me.”

When the others arrived in the car, the buffalo bull took off.

The seriously injured Magson was taken by bakkie to the campsite. It took Leon Strydom almost two hours to cross 30km of flooded roads and a riverbed to reach the Coleske farm where he could call for help.

Shortly after Strydom got help, rangers equipped with radios immediately went to the scene. Sybert Liebenberg, ECPTA acting executive head, also contacted Magson’s wife and kept her updated every 20 minutes throughout the evening.

“If he hadn’t done that, I would’ve gone crazy. I can’t thank him enough,” said Magson’s wife.

When Liebenberg was able to confirm at 02:00 that Magson would be taken to the Netcare Greenacres hospital, she immediately left Somerset West for Port Elizabeth.

Magson was taken for surgery at about 07:00 on Wednesday morning.

Netcare Greenacres Hospital spokesperson Adèle Kennedy said on Wednesday afternoon that his condition was stable.

Just another reminder that the wild in Africa is exaclty that... wild! Click here to hire a camper on your next (safe!) trip in Africa. Drive safely!

Cheréne Pienaar

Cheréne Pienaar Title: Blog Contributor
Affiliation: Drive South Africa Blog

Born and bred in Bloemfontein, this Free state gal is an obsessive reader and hiker and loves discovering... all the time. As an e-marketing assistant and copywriter she believes social media is the future and plans to conquer Africa one word at a time.


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