Picture this for a second, being held hostage by a lion cub. Yeah, as crazy as it sounds this actually happened. A couple of friends and I took a game drive to the Nairobi National Park with the aim of having a day full of excitement, adrenaline and plain simple fun.
Since all of us had at one time been to this national park, we wanted to spice things up and make the game drive more interesting. So we hired a land cruiser that had its rear only covered by canvas.
We braved ourselves with a simple prayer and set off for the game park. The view was incredible, acacia trees scattered all over, thorny bushes and weird looking gigantic rocks. The game warden assured that the animals do not have the habit of coming close to the vehicles so we were safe in the open cruiser.
We began by seeing the usual animals; zebras, gazelles, impala and wild beasts. As we continued, we came to an area where the guards told us that we were in lion territory. We were excited that now we would be able to see some interesting animals. As the cruiser slowly drove around a sharp bend, we came face to face with a pride of lions just a stone throw away from the dirt road.
The driver stopped for us to take snaps before we continued on our journey. This was breathtaking, literary. We were so engrossed in the excitement of it all that we did not take any note when the cubs started coming closer to the car until one of them jumped right on the game wardens feet.
The look of horror in his eyes said it all. He quickly told us not to make a sound, or any sudden movements. He went on to explain that if the cub felt threatened and made a distress call, that would be our last day on earth. Nobody made a move – breathing became difficult, and eyes became watery.
The only thing we could do was sit and wait for the cub to find its way out of the car but all it was interested in was pulling the game wardens shoe strings. I could not help but wonder, what would happen if the other cubs followed the same queue. Lions, big or small, just gave me the creeps!
It seemed like forever, the girl seated next to me, Lucy, already had tears trickling down her cheeks and it was just a matter of time before she broke. This went on for a short moment until the little feline decided that he had had his fun.
As soon as the cub jumped out of the car, the driver started the car and drove off increasing the speed, the further away we got from the pride. He finally stopped at a safe distance to allow us to recover.
We all sat still for a minute contemplating what would have happened if the cub had decided to call the others. Ken, who was seated right in front of me, said what I still consider to be the wisest words out of his mouth, “Please take us out of this place as fast as you can!”
The driver did not need to be told that twice and in about 20 minutes we were already back at the main gate. Soon the jokes started and the fear was gone. But as amusing as it was at that time, we were all aware that were it not for God, we would have made the evening news.
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