“Yes, Bwana. The tracks are fresh. I be careful.”
As we started again, I lit one of my Dunhill cigarettes. This was certainly the right time to be aware of the wind direction. I softly warned everyone to keep their eyes open. Bryce walked his horse to my left. Stan and Alan were behind us. If the lions were to surprise us, they would be much more likely to come from the front, not the back. Lions tend to growl as they run toward you, whereas a leopard might be completely silent.
We slowly walked our horses about 15 yards behind our trackers. Bryce and I had our open sight 375’s loaded and resting in our laps. A sudden gust of wind surprised us all and Makali suddenly dropped to his knees and gave a halt signal. I had everyone dismount and get behind Bryce and me. Makali was touching his nose to signal a smell. As I crouched next to Makali, I could smell it too. It appeared to be the strong musky smell of cat urine. It almost smells like a used litter box. Taking a few steps forward, we spotted the culprit. We were smelling the odor of a “cat-pee” bush. Good name, right? It smells just like it’s name, and due to the dampness from last night’s rain, the odor was even stronger. So, I gave the “all clear”, and we remounted and fell back into the same formation with Bryce and myself in front, following Makali. I lit another cigarette and felt a little less tense. The wind now seems to be swirling from several directions. This is even more dangerous. We can’t count on the possibility of us smelling them, and we can’t limit the chance of them smelling us. Bryce, still to my left, sighed and smiled. He understood our situation. Malkali led us forward slowly. I looked over to Bryce to make some funny comment, when suddenly Makali fell to his knees and made a frantic signal.