About an hour before dawn…

It is about one hour before dawn. I was startled awake by the sound of animal cries, people screaming, and a rifle blast. I jumped from my bed, threw on my trousers and boots, grabbed my open sight .375, and ran outside not knowing what I was about to encounter. Lion, leopard..? I could tell the shot came from the area behind the dining tent. Bryce was running across the campsite toward me.

“What is it?” he yelled.

“I don’t know yet,” yelling back.

Then through the darkness we saw Makali waving his arms and running our way.

“It ok now, ok now,” he said. “Clan of hyena get in chickens Modjaji brought on hunt. They kill three, but I shoot one hyena, rest run away,” he added.

“Jaji alright?”

“Yes, Bwana. When I hear noise, I make her stay inside. She scared. She screamed. Thought simba, Bwana.” Makali said.

“Yeah, so did I,” I said.

“I’ll go check on her,” Bryce said.

“Wait, I see Myles down at her tent,” I said.

“We’re ok, Boss. Everyone’s alright,” Myles yelled to us.

“I’m going to stand guard down by the dining tent for a few minutes. Bryce, would you please go let our guests know that everything is ok?” I asked.

“Makali, go check on Jaji and Myles.” I added.

“Yes, Bwana Kifaru, ” said Makali smiling.

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“Bwana, vikuto (hyena) gone.”

Makali walked into the dining tent. I had sent him out to follow the hyena and to scout an area just south of camp.

 “Yes, ‘Sharp Eyes’,” I said.

“Bwana, vikuto (hyena) gone.”

“Good work, and good shot in the dark this morning Makali,” I added.

“Asante, Bwana K. Oh, and spot big herd of tembo near waterhole where you send me. Two big bull ‘ele’, Bwana. Mean big, Bwana. One maybe 90 to 95 pound tusks. What think?” Makali asked.

“Well, we need to ask our guests,” I said turning back to speak directly to them. “Guys, I know we were only pursuing the plains game, but we have pretty much accomplished that, and with some worthy trophies. I sent Makali to scout a waterhole south of our camp. According to Makali, we have maybe two really good bull elephants in the herd he found. If he is right, 90 pounds per tusk is an outstanding trophy size elephant. If one or two of you would have an interest in shooting an elephant, I can radio to the Game Commission for a permit. The cost is about $1,000. I can actually radio for the license after you shoot. If not, we’ll pursue some waterbuck that were also seen near the waterhole. What do you think?” I asked.

 Tom and Dan quickly spoke up. “Yes, I would,” they both said.

Bret said, “I’d like to come and just watch and film, if can?”

“We’ll take turns tonight standing watch. We’ll make sure they stay away.”

After assessing the damage and reassuring everyone that life is alright again, I asked all of us to prepare for the day and meet for breakfast in about 20 minutes.

The sun was coming up. It was a beautiful morning.

In spite of all that had gone on, Jaji had managed to fix a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits, and fruit. Yes, she had even picked some fresh flowers for the table. Oh, how I love her coffee. It just totally makes my morning. Jaji has been with me for over twelve years now. She is like family, and truly amazing. When I heard the screaming this morning, I was scared for our Jaji.

 “You ok now, Modjaji?” I asked quietly, as she poured my coffee.

She put her hand on my shoulder and said, “Yes Bwana, asante.” with a tear in her eye. “Just scared.” she added.

“We’ll take turns tonight standing watch. We’ll make sure they stay away.” I assured her.

“Yes, Jaji. Since Makali shot one of the hyena, it would be unusual for them to come back. But, we’ll make sure.” Bryce said.

 As we continued our breakfast, I could tell our three guests were a little jumpy from the early morning encounter. I assured them that things like this don’t happen very often. I think they felt a little better.

“She scared. She screamed. Thought simba, Bwana.” Makali said.

Then through the darkness we saw Makali waving his arms and running our way.

“It ok now, ok now,” he said. “Clan of hyena get in chickens Modjaji brought on hunt. They kill three, but I shoot one hyena, rest run away,” he added.

“Jaji alright?” I asked.

“Yes, Bwana. When I hear noise, I make her stay inside. She scared. She screamed. Thought simba, Bwana.” Makali said.

“Yeh, so did I,” I said.

“I’ll go check on her,” Bryce said.

“Wait, I see Miles down at her tent,” I said.

“We’re ok, Boss. Everyone’s alright,” Miles yelled to us.

“I’m going to stand guard down by the dining tent for a few minutes. Bryce, would you please go let our guests know that everything is ok?” I asked.

“Makali, go check on Jaji and Miles.” I added.

“Yes, Bwana Kifaru, ” said Makali smiling. 

After assessing the damage and reassuring everyone that life is alright again, I asked all of us to prepare for the day and meet for breakfast in about 20 minutes.

The sun was coming up. It was a beautiful morning.