Flashback Photo Friday: When I was nearly killed on safari

 It’s Friday and you know what that means: Flashback Photo Fridays, when I share a photo with a story, anecdote and/or explain why the photo is meaningful to me.

On an early morning wake-up call during a 3 day safari in Serengeti and Ngorogoro Conservation Area (Crater), Tanzania I was eager to enter the Crater and see what all the fus was about. Our safari had just begun and with an overcast day, I knew I wouldn’t get too hot in our 4X4 Toyota landrover.

Our guide paid our entrance fees and I soon noticed, not only is there a lot of talk about this place, it’s crowded with landrovers, tourists from different lands eager to see the BIG 5: rhino, African elephant, Cape Buffalo, leopard and lion. Binoculars around their necks and cameras in front of their faces, ready to impress everyone back at home, just what they saw on a trip of a lifetime. I no longer felt I was in nature.I questioned if I was at Disneyland. And then I saw why everyone was crowded around. Two cheetahs. After we snapped some photos we veered away, in hopes to get away from the crowd.

Our guide continued on the typical tourist circuit within the crater on the dirt roads already navigated by many guides years before. He came across a n overgrown green bush, stopped the car, leaned out his door as if that would provide more insight if there was an animal in the bush (literally).

He killed the engine. I stood up on my seat and peered out the sunroom. The sound of silence. Anticpation. Was there an animal chilling in the bush?

Without much more time to ponder and enjoy my setting, our driver and guide, opened his door, grabbed something on the ground and tossed a big stone into the bush. “Holy Shit,” I thought. What the Heck? Moments later a beautiful beast appeared.

Lion in Ngorogoro Crater

Lion in Ngorogoro Crater

Angry and impressed at the same time, I gave my guide the evil eye as I saw my life potential flash before me. The male lion could have jumped into our landrover instantly and enjoyed tossing us in the air like cats do until he got tired of us.

I snapped as many photos as I could as the lion lay quietly, nibbling on grass and changing position a few times. I enjoyed watching nature before my eyes but also felt a pang of guilt. Despite being in the “wild” how many other guides before me have thrown rocks to impress tourists and show us what they know most “expect” to see. One of the negative impacts of tourism most of us don’t often think about…how we have a big role to play when we visit foreign lands, even when we have no idea just how much of an impact we have.

Have you ever been on safari?

Have you ever been on a tour, guided-trip or experienced something that made you question the tourist industry in a country? 

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6 thoughts on “Flashback Photo Friday: When I was nearly killed on safari

  1. Pingback: Flashback Photo Fridays: Call me crazy; Riding in South Africa | Roamingtheworld

  2. Pingback: Flashback Photo Fridays: Camping on the edge! | Roamingtheworld

  3. I live right here, but I’ve never been on Safari. I must be honest though, I don’t fancy myself as a bush-lover. I’m more of a sea/beach person and would rather go to Cape Town instead.

  4. It’s a bit of a double edge sword…we want so badly to have experiences and see new things, but on the other end we must ponder to what extreme people, animals, or the earth must suffer or put out for us to have these moments. As the world population rises and transportation becomes more accessible for many more, I’m afraid we’ll be at the mercy of mass tourism for decades to come. When you do find that true authentic travel moment however, it’s pure bliss.

    Just the other day I watched a short video of a “dolphin funeral”. A bunch of folks on hire to see the whale/dolphin watching off the CA coast. It happened that that day a mother dolphin with her pod was carrying a dead baby on her dorsal fin – sad indeed – but something so rarely seen, even the tour guide struggled to describe it because he had never seen such a thing. They interviewed the visitors after, and many were distraught, but connected – having a greater understanding of the animal and making that connection that we are all much closer in the animal kingdom than we think.

  5. Oh wow. I would to go to Africa someday and go on a safari. I really want to experience it for myself. I’ve seen too many other people’s pictures of it that I’ve gotten so desensitized to it. I barely feel anything apart from, “Okay there’s a giraffe, there’s a lion.” It just feels like seeing a zoo, which is why I prefer to watch NatGeo/Animal Planet because you can tell those camera men are pretty isolated out in the wilderness.
    I guess it depends on the tour you do. I definitely want to do one with a guide who respects the animals. Not one who makes them “perform” for the tourists.

    The lion looks rather docile in this picture. Though there is no way I would want to be standing anywhere near it!

    • Hi,
      Being on safari is quite an incredible expereince but it is funny that after the second day of looking for animals in their habitat, it seems so normal, when in reality it’s not everyday you find herds of elephants or zebras!!

      This photo the lion does look docile… SHould have posted another one of him growling. It was cool to be so close but I do know our guide put us in danger because the lion could have done whatever he wanted! Lions are wild animals after all with plenty of instinct!

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