“There has been a lion attack, night before last, just south of here, near Uregi.”

“Gentlemen, another thing,” I said solemnly. “Before breakfast I was on the radio with the Game Department. There has been a lion attack, night before last, just south of here, near Uregi. That’s not very far. It seems a pride of three rouge lions, one large male, and two female, entered a Masai village and dragged one sleeping man out of his hut and into the bush. The family of the man, and the people of the village could do nothing but watch in horror as the lions pulled their victim into the darkness. The Game Warden said the report says the man was not dead as the lions carried him away. He was screaming and fighting, but powerless. The big male lion had the man by his neck. His remains were found yesterday morning. What a horrible death.”

“Oh my God,” Bryce said.

“Jabari kumasaidia ( God help them),” Makali whispered.

“Anything we can do?” Myles asked.

“I wish.  We can’t put our guests in that kind of danger, but we better watch and be extra careful,” I added.

“Lion don’t normally roam too far from their home. I’d think we’re far enough away,” Bryce said.

“Yes, hopefully, but these are confirmed man-eaters now. They will be unpredictable. All we can do is be prepared and alert,” I said.

“Charles, as you know, lion attacks are much more frequent in Tanzania than in Kenya. I can’t even remember the last time I heard of a human being mauled by lion in Kenya,” Myles said.

“Well, you are right. You know what, though, we are close to the Tanzania border. The town of Uregi is only about 20 km from the border. These three lions could easily have crossed to the Kenya side,” I said.

“We’re only about an hour drive from Uregi,” Bryce added.

“Yep, I know. A little too close for comfort. Extra careful this morning, boys,” I said, turning away.

“Let’s go get our stuff and meet everyone back here in about 10 minutes,” I said.

“Charles, do you think we should alert our three guests about the lions?’ asked Myles.

“Well, I’ve been trying to decide how to handle that. Bryce, your thoughts?”

“You know guys, I’m thinking it might be better to not worry them about it. We are going to be extremely careful and watchful. Our three guests might not sleep and be scared to even be outside. What do you think, Charles?”

“I agree, let’s just keep it quiet. I do want us to take turns keeping watch at night. If they ask, we can say it is mostly due to the hyena attack. I’ll take the first watch tonight. Bryce, will you spell me at about 2:00am?” I asked.

“You bet Bwana K. See ya’ in 10:00,” Bryce answered as he turned to head to his tent.

“Bright eyes,” I said.

“Yes, Bwana K,” answered Makali.

“You carry gun today, ok?”

“Yes, Bwana. You carry cigarettes.”

“Yes, wind in our face,” I said.

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“We will set up a base camp probably near the most recent attack..,”

(…or “tent on wheels”, as Makali called it.)

 Another 30 minutes, and we’ll be in the Masai Mara. Miles is driving his truck and will pick up Benga. We will set up a base camp probably near the most recent attack, leave the camper, and begin our simba search in two vehicles. Miles and Benga will investigate the village where one of the first attacks happened. Makali and I will visit the roadside location where Michael Bridges was killed. The decision was made for the four of us to jointly investigate the spot where our friend, Bill Opopo, and his assistant, were brutally killed.

After each of us cleaned our rifles, we headed to bed. I found it necessary to have one last shot of “Jack”, to help me sleep.

Makali steps outside and is instantly locked-in to the smell of cape buffalo.

“We have a clear view of the waterhole. I think the hippo family is waiting for you. There is something in the water near the opposite side.”

“Yes, Bwana, and me smell the buff.” 

I smiled at my “tracker”. One reason was that he is just so amazing and cool. He is always so focused and aware. I was also smiling because he had just gotten me. I was about to make a comment regarding what I was smelling, but it wasn’t going to be nearly as “safari-ish” as his comment. The only smell I was recognizing was the lilac and other floral odors that were filling the air. I was thinking about how nice the air smelled following the rain from last night. Makali steps outside and is instantly locked-in to the smell of cape buffalo. It just pleases me that his talents continue to surprise me.

Words of warning and caution..

“Now, a few words of warning and caution before we prepare to leave.” I said.  “Even though it seems a little wet this morning, the ground will dry quickly and become very sandy, especially in the dry river beds.  Stan, I see you are not wearing boots.  I highly recommend that you change to boots before we leave camp.  Plus, not to create worry, but there are some serious snakes in this area.” I added. 

“Oh, man”. Alan exclaimed.  “I’ve read about some.  What’s in this area?” he asked.

“Well, again don’t get too alarmed.”  Bryce said.  “They are here, but normally they are scared of us too.  We have seen cobra and the puff adder.  Both are deadly.  Again, we will be watching.”  Bryce ended.

This Morning..

This morning’s hunt is starting as most have in his last 12 years, before dawn. But this morning feels different, it even looks different. Normally there is some breeze to cool the already warm East African highlands. And, there should be some moonlight, he thought. Has the new moon ended so soon? Two mornings ago it was so bright. He remembers how the early lights danced on the mist rising off the waterhole that lies just 100 yards from the deck where he is standing. He could clearly see the kudu and buffalo that are normally enjoying an early drink.