My scariest Black Mamba rescue yet…and not because of the mamba! It’s a fairly long story, but bare with me, there’s lots to explain to give you an idea of our experience!
Straight after our Green Mamba capture in Amanzimtoti the other night (see earlier post on page), my friend Shane and I went off to look for a suspected Black Mamba in a room in Umbumbulu, about 20 minutes from Toti.
The man described the snake as big and black. I asked, “Are you in a township?”. “No I don’t, it’s fine its safe to come”. Feeling a little skeptical, we went off anyway. He told us to find some high school near his house and he’ll meet us there- he didn’t have an address (sounds promising!).
We took the turn-off that he told us to take off the main road going through Umbumbulu. To my frustration, it was a muddy track, going straight through the informal settlements. It’s dark, getting late and it had been raining, and now we’re venturing into a township. Fantastic. To make things more interesting, my petrol warning light was on.
We ended up getting very lost. We were stopping to ask for directions, but everyone we spoke to blew the stench of alcohol into our faces, and they couldn’t walk in a straight line. It was a Monday night!?! We took one of the men’s directions that we had asked. With the petrol warning light on, I drove at speed over the muddy road, wanting to get this over with as quickly as I could!
Eventually, after a while, we found the school and the caller. We followed him across a shallow river (my corsa bakkie goes where it wants!), and through cane fields. I then thought that it was perfect mamba habitat, but also the perfect spot to murder someone!
We arrived at the house. He showed us to where the snake had been spotted, hours earlier. The room had no lights, and the door way had been blocked off by a mattress. We opened the door, and Shane asked the homeowners “Did a bomb go off in herë?”. If not, it certainly looked like it did! They had flipped the mattresses, knocked things over and broke the windows from the outside, so that they could push the cupboards down. “What on Earth are we dealing with here??” I thought.
I walked in and lifted up the cupboard, which had fallen on a bed. Nothing. Shane was looking on one side of the room, while I checked the other. About to give up, I decided to lift up the cupboard again to double check. As I lifted it, I noticed the body of a Black Mamba, right next to my hand! The same scenario as the Green Mamba capture! I shouted to Shane to get over here! He held up the cupboard, while I tried to safely secure the head with my tongs. It was a relatively easy capture (2m long specimen), despite standing on a wonky bed frame. That was half the mission complete, now we had to get out of there!
With my petrol light on red still, we drove off at great speed, with two mambas in the back of my bakkie. I am fortunate enough to be on an emergency service group. I put a message on, explaining where I was and why, as I was expecting to break down. One of the guys on there called me to explain where the nearest petrol station was. We finally got out, and the guy who called told me that Umbumbulu was extremely dangerous, and that I should rather go in with guns (which I don’t have). He said it was like hijack central. Thankfully, we heard this as we exited.
About 20km later, we reached a petrol station. We could then laugh about our experience. “Only the good die young” said Shane. ‘That pretty much summed up our eventful evening.
For snake removals, preferrably in safer scenarios but whatever the case, you can call me, Nick Evans on 072 809 5806.