A game drive for guests at a Worcester game reserve turned into a nightmare when an elephant tried to topple their game-viewing vehicle.
Two passengers were injured when they jumped from the vehicle in fright. One of them fractured her leg, and may be transferred from a Worcester hospital to a Cape Town facility on Monday.
Pieter de Jager, owner of the Fairy Glen private game reserve just outside Worcester, on Monday confirmed the incident that happened on Friday at about noon.
He said they have two elephants on the reserve and that the male had been involved in the incident.
A game ranger had taken a group of about 10 tourists, who were at the reserve for a conference, on a game drive when they stopped to look at the elephants.
“The vehicle has to be a certain distance from the elephant and when the elephant approaches, the ranger is supposed to switch the vehicle on and drive away,” he explained.
But when the ranger tried to do this, the engine would not start.
“When the elephant got to the vehicle, he lifted the front part of the vehicle with his tusks, which must have scared the tourists because two women jumped off and injured their legs.” They were taken to a local hospital.
De Jager said the elephant had not attacked the vehicle, but had been “playing around” with it. People did not realise that although elephants were powerful animals, they were not always aware of their power, he added.
Anrietta Smit, spokeswoman for Mediclinic Worcester, confirmed on Monday that the women had been admitted on Friday.
One of them, who was still at the hospital on Monday morning, had suffered a distal femur fracture in the fall and doctors were planning to try to move her to a Cape Town hospital on Monday.
*The reserve was also in the news in December when poachers hacked off the horns of two rhinos at the property.
De Jager said he was satisfied with the progress of the female rhino but feared that the male may have suffered brain damage in the attack.
“His personality has changed completely,” he said.