Camping with the lions!

Posted: 06/08/2011 in Africa

We get to sleep in this morning which is great for the guys but I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed at 4:30am. Insomnia follows me to Africa. At dawn I go and sit on the beach trying to capture some photos of birds in flight. One of the guards comes over and we chat a bit. I love learning about different cultures and interacting with people in other countries but it turns a little sour when he suggests, while gently swinging his club in his hand, that I give him my mp3 as a gift and my contact details back home in case he comes for a visit. I’m sure he meant me no harm rather it was an act of intimidation but it’s frustrating none-the-less. Thankfully Ebron comes out of his tent to start on breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausages and baked beans thank you very much! And I find some vegimite!

Today we head into the Serengeti and I’m so excited. Lunch is at the park entrance where we compete for our sandwiches with baboons. The big males are pretty scary and I’m told if he goes for your sandwich just let him have it. I don’t want his weird ugly bum anywhere near me, he can have all my sandwiches if he wants them. And we’re eating outside of the truck why?! Once in the game park we open the hatches, stand on our foot lockers and start shooting away (with the camera, I am no safari hunter!). There aren’t great herds of animals in this part of the park being the dry season but the landscape is magnificent and I photograph some beautiful birds. We do see giraffe, elephant and of course the abundant gazelle. Serengeti national park is a vast area the size of northern Ireland and i cant really do it any justice by my description. It’s bone dry; waterholes are empty and there are large patches of burnt area everywhere from lightening strikes. And then our tire blows. We jump out to get some photos and stretch our legs but are advised not to wander too far because of wildlife. I don’t know how they get the spare tyre off the top of the truck, it’s HUGE but half an hour later we’re racing to our campsite to beat sundown.

Let me tell you about the campsite. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the Serengeti. There are no boundaries, no fences, nothing to stop any kind of wildlife coming into the campsite and that includes lions. We find a random spot to park ourselves – it is a very full camp – and quickly pitch our tents before dark. Head torch in place (no electricity) I make my way down to the shower (cold) after having a quick pee (scary drop loo). I really don’t care though, it’s that dusty on the road that I’ll use a bucket to wash myself if I have too. What a night, occasionally I’d wake to hear something rustling around the campsite or the sound of hyenas calling. I’d already been told not to leave shoes outside the tent because they pinch them (they must not like getting prickles in their paws…) or have any food inside the tent as they will find a way in. I didn’t realise they could open zippers….oh hang on….really sharp teeth and claws, oh yeh. James said he even heard lions growling at one stage. Now thats what I call camping and an experience I won’t forget!

  1. Anonymous says:

    wow Min sounds lke everything you wished for!! so happy for you!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love reading your stories : ) Miss you heaps. Keep up the great writing. Great slide show when you get home.

    • Anonymous says:

      The ‘pee stops’ are just hilarious Min, you’re such a good writer!! – Delia xx

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