36 – Feeding mum to the lions

Lion - kongwa2london.comI have a few childhood memories of travelling through the bush, either while on safari or just visiting a game reserve.

In one wildlife park, we stopped to watch a pride of lions having a siesta. My father parked the car, so it faced the lions. After half an hour of observation, my dad started the engine and drove towards the lions, planning to do a U-turn.

As he turned right, my mother’s car door swung open and she proceeded to fall into the lap of the pride. My father just managed to grab an arm and pulled her away from the snapping jaws of a lion. This is one takeaway meal that was taken away.

Baboons crawl over cars all the time, sometimes hitching rides for miles. You are encouraged not to feed them, but we did by lowering the window a fraction and handing them wrapped sweets. We were impressed with their human observational skills as they learnt how to unwrap the sweets from us.

When you find yourself confronted by an elephant on the road, the rule is to turn the vehicle around. This was a precaution in case they charged, as an elephant can run up to 25 miles per hour and forward gears on the car are better for acceleration than reverse.

Some years later, my brother had the experience of being charged while on safari in Uganda. There is also the other danger of the elephant sitting on the car and crushing it.

My parents knew of a couple who had their car charged by a rhino, sadly they were killed when the vehicle was nearly sliced in half.

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