In what sounds stranger than fiction, a Kariba woman says she spent a night squaring off with a lioness.
She escaped with injuries only, after the feline gave up at daybreak.
Winnet Zvingwari is recovering at Kariba District Hospital and claims she used a high-pitched voice and hand clapping to keep the feline at bay.
Initially, the lion and lioness attacked her together but the male one somehow lost interest and left.
“I was attacked by two lions, a male and female. The male leapt on my back while the lioness bit a chunk off my right thigh before biting again my left thigh,” said Mrs Zvingwari.
“I fell to the ground in a sitting position and screamed which seemed to disturb the lions with one of them which I believe to be the male lion as I saw the mane moving away from me while roaring.”
The male, she said could be heard roaring from a distance for the better part of the night while the lioness remained behind trying several times to attack her.
The stand-off lasted the entire night and so did Mrs Zvingwari’s clapping and shouting.
She sustained deep wounds on her thighs and an incision on her upper back.
On the fateful day, Mrs Zvingwari had finished fishing in the area known as Mafiriji in Gache Gache and packed her belongings including the day’s catch to join her colleagues who were nearby.
“We could communicate by shouting from where they were. It was around 8pm when I decided to join my colleagues so that we could go home together as we always did.
“As I was walking with my belongings I got into a depression that leads to a small river. That is when I was attacked. I think they were waiting for me to pass,” she said.
Mrs Zvingwari is grateful to be alive but remains confused as to how she managed the rare feat.
Her colleagues could hear her cry for help but they also feared being attacked.
“My fellow fishers could hear my cries for help but they felt helpless and feared for their own lives. I kept shouting the whole night. I realised that I could not run away because I was hurt and bleeding profusely,” she said.
“When I shook off the male lion that was at my back I realised that I had a deep cut. The lioness moved a distance of about five metres and starred at me. Every time it tried to come to me I would scream and clap my hands. We were like that the whole night. It only left as dawn was breaking. Even then I could not go anywhere.”
She waited for sunrise to shout again for help and villagers and her husband came to her rescue and organised transport to hospital.
The Herald visited Mrs Zvingwari at her hospital bed where she narrated her ordeal and how the incident has left her considering going back to her rural home in Hurungwe.
“I have been fishing for the past 10 years but I have never had such a near death encounter like this. After such an incident I do not think I can still continue fishing. I now want to go back to my rural home and find something else to do,” she said.
“I have been surviving by catching fish which we sell in communal areas of Hurungwe and as far as Chikuti. On a normal day I can catch up to 16kg and that has been enough to sustain me and my family.”
But were they lions or there were other predators?
She swears that she was attacked by lions on the fateful night as she crossed a rivulet separating her and some colleagues.
If they were lions how could she survive one of the most lethal predators in the animal kingdom?
That the supposed male lion left behind the lioness gives credence to assertions that they were lions as female lions mostly do the hunting.
However, that the lions did not go for the kill as is expected of them deepens the mystery.