Looking for Lions in all the Wrong Places!
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An Excerpt from
Travel Tales of Michael Brein: My Best 100
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Looking for Lions in All the Wrong Places!
[Travels of the ‘Adventurer’]
South Luangwa National Park,
by Michael Brein
It’s not always the case that reason prevails, but in my case, it sure did. It made no sense to me at all to be searching for lions in all the wrong places. And it was a no-brainer to be walking single file in the tall brown grasses in lion country on our walking safari in Zambia. And for the ‘Adventurer,’ it is all about risks and safety.
“Never, EVER, run from an animal,” exhorted our safari guide at the start of our guided walk out into the African bush. It should surprise no one, therefore, that I positioned myself to the rear of the single file line instead of towards the front. I may be crazy for going on this walk in the first place, but stupid I was not.
The single file line stretched out to about a quarter of a mile, all told. With the grasses being tall to the order of about six feet, it seemed to be a fairly significant distance, so you couldn’t really see the people any longer at the head of the line.
Suddenly, in the distance a loud distinct grunt could be heard. Perhaps it could better be described as being more of a nasal sort of snort. In any event, it was, nevertheless, very loud and very intimidating. However, it was not a roar, per se, and therefore, was not really our nemesis—a lion!
However, whatever it was, it precipitated a severe reaction among the vanguard heading up our party, so that the next scene was about a half-dozen or so of our entourage (including our guide) now running towards us at a rather hefty clip, seemingly running for their lives.
When everyone gathered, now comfortable about the fact that they were not at all being chased by whatever it was, I rather glibly approached our guide with this comment: “I thought you made it very clear to us that we were never, EVER to run from an animal.”
Of course, he was not at all happy with my attempt to undermine his authority, by questioning the sanity of this excursion in the first place. His reply: “Never run from an animal, UNLESS I TELL YOU TO!”
Okay, it wasn’t a lion, so what caused this sudden panic among the extreme members of our ranks? Evidently, it was a scenario of a mutual startle: A Cape buffalo and our group stumbled upon one another at the same instant in the tall grasses. Each turned and ran from the other for dear life—the buffalo, one way, and they the other.
All’s well that ends well, I suppose, but it certainly didn’t have to. The buffalo is one of Africa’s big five, by the way, and one Africa’s most dangerous animals. They can be very ill tempered. They are aggressive and often vengeful. And ‘lone wolf’ buffalos can pop up nearly anywhere.
So please don’t ask me to walk looking for just about anything in all the wrong places.
Do Africa wildlife and safari stories intrigue you so slightly?
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