"In the jungle, the mighty jungle,
the lion sleeps tonight...." and "Where have all the lions gone..." were
the song that kept going through our heads as we drove
through the game parks looking for the king of beasts.
Our quest started in Kenya while visiting the Nairobi Game
Park. We drove a Toyota land cruiser for 10 hours over
washboard, mud covered, pot holed roads looking for the
mighty lion. We went back and forth through the "lion
valley" passed the "lion tree" and around
all the herds of grazing animals. We even went to "Kampi
yo Simba". No Lions appeared that day. Well, no worry,
we have more game parks to see in Tanzania.
We were excited. Our Safari included a professional driver/guide,
named Patrick, who was a walking encyclopedia of animal
and plant lore. We left Usa River at 6:45 am in the morning
and arrived at Lake Manyara National Park at 9 am. Our
hopes were high since Lake Manyara is the home of the famous
tree-climbing lions. During the almost six hours we were
there, we saw many types of animals. It was interesting
to see hundreds of baboons, baby elephants, a baby hippo,
the elusive dikdik antelope (the smallest antelope) and
all the other grazing animals including giraffes. But,
no lions. No worries, we were on our way to the Ngorongoro
Crater which has one of the highest predator populations
After watching the sunset from the crater rim at the Sopa
Lodge, at 7,800 feet, at having a lovely meal with traditional
African singing we were ready for the next day. We were
up at 5:30 am and one our way down into the crater by 6:30.
It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining. The first
animals we saw were the spotted hyenas walking up the road
towards us. Then we passed the carcass of a cape buffalo
which had been stripped down to the bones. We felt encouraged.
There must be lions around.
Patrick turned the park upside down and shook it for the
next 8 house trying to find the lions. During that time
we saw many other animals including the smaller predators
such as jackals and bat-eared fox. We also saw many more
hyenas. But no lions. Patrick talked to each guide we passed
and no one saw any lions that day.
In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion slept that day....
So when you see us - don't ask if we saw any lions in Africa.
We would rather not talk about that! Ask about the black
rhino, hippos, flamingos, elephants, zebras and giraffes