“Man-eaters of Masai Mara”

Walking back over to his table near the window, he opens his laptop and lets it “awaken” itself. While all of his thoughts are still fresh on his mind, he wants to outline a few details and ideas.

“Think I’ll set-up a new folder in my documents named ‘ Man-eaters’,” to himself, as he types. “Just some notes, so I don’t forget.”

Man-eaters of Masai Mara

*Dr. William Opopo.. visit location .. find a track for comparing

*Location of most recent kill .. find track

*Visit village of 1st reported attack. Ask if anyone remembers any distinguishing features or appearance of simba

*Need: Myles, Makali, Benga.. think no Modjaji. Do own cooking. Benga is a decent cook.

*2 vehicles. My Land Rover, Myles..Land Cruiser. No big truck… be able to move quickly. If need a ‘capture’ cage, might be a problem

*Might consider 2 teams.. Myles & Benga, Me & Makali. Divide and cover more area.

*Ask Myles: capturing techniques

supplies needed:

*My ‘375 and Judge

*Research shipping and transport options and costs to San Diego

“Your coffee, Bwana K,” Mohammad said, placing the cup and saucer on the table. “I made a fresh pot.”

“Thank you. Don’t think I’ll be much longer.”

“No worries, Sir. We are here late,” Mohammad said.

“Oh, I know. I’ve got to drive to the city, and I need my beauty sleep ya’ know,” Charles said with a smile.

“Yes, Bwana. I’ll check on you in a few minutes,” he replied, turning to walk back to the bar.

“Thanks again, Mohammad.”

Taking a sip, he stirs in some extra cream. To himself, “close Mohammad, close to perfect.”

Setting down the cup, he types again:

*Coffee and tea bags

*No alcohol. Not this trip.

*Video equipment

*USE MINISTER NOAH MWANGI FOR BAIT!! no, guess can’t do that..

“That’s a good start,” he says to himself.

He hits ‘save document’, finishes his last sip of coffee, and closes his laptop. He reaches for his cell phone and takes it from his belt holster. He starts dialing Miles’ number as he walks again through the doorway to the outside balcony.

“Good, a strong signal,” to himself.

“Jambo, B. K.” on the third ring.

“Wow, the magic of ‘caller ID’,” Charles replied. “Glad I caught you. You at home, or out on the town?”

“A little of both, Mate. At home now, but just leaving to meet Sheila at the Hilton,” Miles answered.

“Sheila? Do I know Sheila?” Charles asked.

“Well, you’ve met. She’s the feisty red-head I took to that banquet you talked me into last month here in Nairobi. Remember?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah. The one with the so-called gorgeous sister that never seemed to make an appearance that night, or any other night, I might add,” Charles said.

“Bwana K, always with that attention to detail, and the memory of an elephant,” Myles responded with a chuckle.

“Yeah, I guess a memory for the important details. Anyway, I know you’ve got to go, but got a quick one to run by ya’, Myles. I think it will ‘tickle your

fancy’,” Charles said.

“Well, tickle me,” he responded eagerly. “By the way, where are you?” he added.

“Mount Kenya Safari Club. I was meeting with a new client of ours,” Charles answered.

“Sweet, Chuck. It’s getting late. You staying the night?” he asked.

“Well, I actually just changed my plans. Was headin’ back to Nairobi, now I’m headed to the ‘Lodge’,” Charles said.

“Ok, I’ll bite. What’s up, Bwana?” Myles asked.

“During dinner, about 2 hours ago, Meredith called me from San Diego. I was just finishing my meeting, so I asked to call her back when I was through, about 30 minutes later. Anyway, she had a call today from a dear friend of ours, Noah Mwangi,” Charles said.

“The Minister of Wildlife?” Miles interrupted. “That son-of-a-bitch. Of course, I think I only dislike him because you do. What’s up, Mate?”

“He called her regarding the man-eaters we’ve been hearing about,” Charles answered.

“Why did he call her?” he asked.

“Kenya wants her and the San Diego Zoo to do a behavior study on the lion pride, and hopefully learn how to avoid future lion attacks,” Charles replied.

“Oh baby! I should have seen this one comin’ a mile away. I smell a lion capture. Am I right, Boss? And three? Three man-eaters? Damn, Chuck!”

Myles exclaimed.

“I know, Myles. I obligated myself. I couldn’t speak for you. It does have a hint of danger to it, doesn’t it?” Charles added.

“A hint, we’re talkin’ major ‘hatari’ (danger) here, Bwana. This is the pride that killed William Opopo. What, two male and one female?” he asked.

“The report now is one male and two lioness. There has been at least one more confirmed attack,” Charles answered. “I sure do need your expertise, Myles.”

“Oh, you bet. Put me in, Coach. It’s been at least a week since I’ve had some good danger, Bwana,” Myles answered.

“Kenya is footing the tab, and Noah wants me to put together an estimate of expenses and a basic game plan. I told Meredith I’d get it to her in a couple of days. Any chance you could meet me at the Lodge tomorrow? These lions may be killing daily,” Charles asked.

“We’ve got hunt scheduled for next week, don’t we? he asked.

“I’ve already canceled, and they are willing to let us reschedule the dates. What do ya’ think, can you come to the Lodge? I could use your help with the planning?”

“Yes. Alright, I’ll head your way in the morning. I should be there by noon,” Myles answered.

“Good. Great news. I will contact Makali. I want his input on some of this,” Charles added.

“Hey, why don’t I pick him up on the way tomorrow. I’ll go right by his village,” Myles asked.

“That will be great. Good thinking. I’ll ask him to be ready about 11:00,” he said.

“I think I’d also like Benga along, Charles,” Myles said,

“Yep. Planning on that,” he said.

“Help track and also carry some of the capture gear. He has been with me on two other ‘big cat’ captures,” Myles said.

“Again, planning on it, but I don’t think we need him in on the planning, do we?” Charles asked.

“No, I don’t think so. I tell ya’, he is fearless, and he follows directions,” Myles said.

“Yes, he sure does. You and I really need to protect him. He rarely carries a weapon.” Charles added.

“Yeah, I agree. With three lion, three killers, we’ll have to be on our game, Chuck,” Myles stated in a serious, quiet tone.

“Myles, am I crazy? Did I put us in over our heads? Can we find and capture three man-eaters?” Charles asked, solemnly.

“Bwana K, we got this! You drive safely tonight. I’ll see you by noon tomorrow,” Myles answered assuringly.

“Thanks. Ok, see ya’ tomorrow,” hanging up the phone.

Putting his phone back in his belt case, Charles takes a long final gaze at Mount Kenya bathed in moonlight, then turns to head back inside. Mohammad is clearing the empty glasses and the coffee cup from his table.

“Headed for the city, Bwana Charles?” Mohammad asks.

“No, Mohammad, there’s been a change in plans. Headin’ for my lodge north of Thomson’s Falls. Big cat problems near Masai Mara. Duty calls,” he answered.

“Oh, I heard some rumor of a lion problem,” Mohammad said.

“Well, ‘Mo’, the rumor just got personal. I’m about to put an end to it,” Bwana K answered. “Check, please!”

“Yes, Bwana. I’ll bring you a coffee to go for your drive,” he replied. “Be right back, Charles.”

“Thanks, Mo.”

“One more call,” to himself, still standing. “I’ll wait ’til I’m in the ‘Rover’.”

“Here you go Bwana Charles. The dinner is on that ticket, too,” Mohammad said.

“Fine, no worries,” handing him his credit card.

“Thank you. Be right back.”

I take a sip from the water glass still on his table, Mohammad returns.

“Your copy, Bwana K, and your coffee.”

“Thank you Mohammad. Thanks for the coffee, thanks for everything. All great as usual. Asante sana rafiki (thank you friend).”

“Karibu (you’re welcome), Bwana Kifaru. Salaam safari (safe hunt).”

“Thank you, friend,” zipping his computer bag. “See you soon,” turning and walking away.

Carrying my planner and computer bag, I leave the Tusk lounge, walk past ‘Duma’s Corner’, through the lobby and into the front parking area. I had not valet parked, this time. With firearms in the Rover, it is never a good idea to let someone unknown have access to the vehicle. Too dangerous and too valuable.

I walk to the far left side of the parking area. Today I am in my 2009 Land Rover Sport. It is gun barrel silver (how appropriate), and way too nice for where I’m about to go. I usually drive my older ‘Discovery’ into the bush, but it is parked at my office in Nairobi. Using the remote key, I unlock the doors, place my computer bag on the floor behind the driver seat, and close the door. Starting the car, the ‘Eagles’ cd I was playing when I shut off the engine almost three hours ago, starts again.

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“Man I wonder how many she has killed?”

Benjamin is the first to reach the base camp, and parks the simba loaded pickup just behind the back of the camper. It is now about 7:00 and dark. What appears to be an almost full moon is rising behind the trees. I pull in and park to his right, Miles parks to his left. Getting out of my Rover, and using my flashlight, I join the others looking down at our captive lion secured in the back of the pickup. She is still out cold. I shine the light on its face. 

“Man I wonder how many she has killed? Look at those teeth. There is blood still around its mouth. Guys, let’s set up the holding cage, maybe off to this side,” pointing to the right side of the camp site. “It will be closer to the road, which will make it easier to load into Dr. Longo’s truck. We left it folded up and leaning next to the camper.”

“Copy that, Bwana. Benga, Makali, help me grab that cage,” Miles says as he turns to walk toward the motor home.

“The victims’ name was Bridges, Michael Bridges.”

“Do you know how to contact her?” Miles asked as he takes another bite of sandwich.

“All I know is from the newspaper article. The victims’ name was Bridges, Michael Bridges.”

“Chuck, I’ve got a good friend who works at the paper. I’ll call her in a few minutes and see if I can get some contact information.”

“Well, sounds like a ‘girl’ friend, Miles. Is it fair to say, a ‘close’ friend?”

“Close? Yes, but not too close,” Miles replied in a laugh.

“If close enough to give us some information, then that would be great. If you tell her we are doing this under the orders of the Kenyan government, that should help.”

“I’ll call her after we finish this meeting,” Miles said.

“Makali, do you agree that we should visit at least three of the killing sites and ask questions and look around for clues?” I asked.

“Yes, Bwana K.”

“But he needs to hear it from the ‘horses mouth’, sort of speak.”

“Miles, for Makali’s benefit, let me start our gathering by giving him a quick summary of our mission.”

“Great idea. We talked about it some on the way here, but he needs to hear it from the ‘horses mouth’, sort of speak.”

“Farasi kinywa? (horse mouth?)?” Makali asked, looking confused.

“Well it’s what we call a slang saying. Misimu (slang), it means hear it from the main person, I guess,” I said.

“Ok Bwana Farasi,” Makali said laughing.

“Yeah, funny. Thanks, Miles. I’d rather stick with kifaru, Makali.”

“Yes, Bwana.”

Bwana K’s Journal.. Weird dream last night…

I  was startled awake about 6:45 by what I think was a loud pied crow.  The pied crow is similar in appearance and sound to the magpie in the US.  I was having a weird dream about some girl I met at a club I used to frequent in San Diego.  As I recall, Meredith was also at the club and we were all sitting together at the same table.  The weird part was that Meredith seemed happy that I picked up this girl at the club and kept telling me to kiss her.  I have no idea where that dream came from or where it was going.  Probably a good thing that I was awakened.

Got up, took a quick shower, but no shave.  Putting on some khaki pants , an old Sea World t-shirt, and my boots, I head down to the kitchen to make some coffee.   Being in a hurry, this morning I just microwave some water and make instant coffee.  I have found a local blend of Blue Mountain coffees that is still pretty good, even as an instant.  There is no milk in the house, so with 2 bags of sugar, I’m good. 

I slide open the door to the balcony and step out and greet the new day.

“… I just love this place.”

 

The Lodge sits on the top of a ridge that overlooks a very well used waterhole and an absolute outstanding view of the Central Kenyan Highlands. Lake Nakuru National Park is close enough that we get an occasional flock of lesser flamingo. The waterhole is “spring-fed” and the water level stays constant. From the balcony you can often spot the hippo family that calls my waterhole home.

I have purposely placed the coach and chairs at an angle, so I can enjoy that incredible view through the picture windows, and yes also a view of the 54″ flat screen mounted on the wall, just to the right of the fireplace. Thanks to satellite, I can even catch my Dallas Cowboys during football season. I just love this place.

“Just as I suspected, the cupboards are bare, and there ain’t much in the frig.”

Setting my stuff on the table in the entry area, I walk to the kitchen, look in the pantry, and then open the refrigerator to check for groceries.  Just as I suspected, the cupboards are bare, and there ain’t much in the frig.  Good thing the guys won’t be here until about noon.  When I first made the final decision to start my safari business and began spending a lot of time in the Kenyan “bush”, it took me about three months to get used to not having a 24 hour Wal-Mart down the street for whenever I needed something.   Preparing for a hunt, knowing you will be away from everything for one, two, maybe as long as four weeks requires some strategic planning.  I’ve learned where some well-placed stores are along the way, and what times they are open.  Often times drinkable water and fresh produce are a real issue.  Bottled water is popular now in Kenya, but the store owners are real proud of their supply and don’t mind making a nice profit.  The Lodge has well water that is safe to drink and even tastes good.  We always try to fill some large water containers to carry with us.