During the building of the Kenya-Uganda railway in 1898, in nine short months, two man-eating lions killed over 135 workers. Colonel John Henry Patterson, an English military engineer with Indian experience was in charge of the project. He killed both lions. They are known as the Man-Eaters of Tsavo and are now on display, in of all places, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. We hiked to the cave where Patterson said the lions would drag their victims.
click to enlarge photos…
Walking across Tsavo West ✅
Leaving the wetter more mountainous portion of Tsavo West will change the game encounters. In Tsavo East there will be more lions and heavier concentrations of elephants.
Registering at the new park triggered a memory – the ranger approached the vehicle wearing a freaking face mask. Covid. Something that hadn’t crossed our minds for days. Living in the bush is an option folks! Fiction is better than reality.
We had to a short drive down the Nairobi Mombasa Highway, named the most dangerous road in Africa, to start the new portion of the walk. Iain said walking amongst predators was safer than crossing the road.
We walked through an old rail station. Closed in 2012 because the new fast Chinese rail would no longer stop here and 40 other stops along the way. Everything was left behind. Ticket books still sat on the counter. It was as if time had stopped.
With breezy and often times overcast days and temperatures around the low 80’s walking has been lighter and easier than if the sun blared all day.
A two hour drive got us to our camp. Our new home for the next three nights.
Bull elephants are known to hang out and walk through this site. Iain refers to them as the “retirement group”. Today, at tea time, one such male decided tho walk up to the mess tent. Thank God Iain had popped his head in only moments before the encounter. He ushered the few of us there into a group and we moved around like frogger trying to avoid a visual face to face with the big guy. It was quite exciting and not to mention scary. My heart was racing.
While driving today Lajori whispers “simba” Swahili for lion. Only a Samburu bushman with an innate sense of what, I have no idea, could have spotted lions resting in the distance under a bush. The same bushes we walk by 100,000 times a day! It took me several minutes with Lajori pointing in their direction and binoculars to find them. Iain drove closer for a better look. This man has no fear! This is only a few hundred meters from our campsite.
Nighttime pees take on a whole new meaning!