About the Book
This article was excerpted from Laurie
McAndish King’s travel memoir Lost, Kidnapped,
Eaten Alive! True Stories from a Curious Traveler
(Destination Insights, 259 pages).
don’t bother to assist them. But this was a group of four females and one
large male with an impressive golden mane. What was he doing there?
He was probably so famished that he couldn’t even wait for the females
to make a kill. He was big, that was for sure. I couldn’t see his teeth, but I
know they were long and sharp, and I’ll bet he was salivating.
I smelled the dust. Dust, and a sweat-like smell. Was it the buf-
falo, or the lions? Was it me? Was it fear? The lions were not yet
attacking, so I had a moment to contemplate: should I turn and run,
or stand and scream? Would it make a difference? Did I have a choice?
I would like to report that Rodgers and Robert were unfazed, but
that would not be entirely true. Actually, they looked anxious. They
had no guns. They were responsible for a dozen travelers. And we
were 70 yards away from five hungry lions.
The big cats paced around the edges of the buffalo herd, eyeing one
individual, then another. What if one looked at me? Should I make eye
contact, or avoid it? I began to feel panicky. Robert’s words echoed in
my mind: if a lion does come toward you, don’t run. Legs locked, I stood
my ground, and felt proud of myself for having the presence of mind to
follow instructions in a crisis. But then it occurred to me: if I stood my
ground, and everyone else retreated, did that make me clever? Or did it
make me lion food?
Fortunately, my survival did not depend on my own cleverness:
Rodgers and Robert took control, instructing us to remain facing
the lions and walk slowly backward, away from them. We did so.
Soon, it was safe to turn and walk — a bit more quickly — back to the
boat. When we were safely on board, and motoring back to camp,
I marveled at the beauty of Nature’s Grand Plan, at green papyrus
against intense blue skies and the deliciousness of a bottle of cold
Chibuku Shake-Shake beer.
Life is good, when you’re not on the menu. M
Suddenly Robert hurried back into our
midst, eyes wide and round, and bulging so
the whites showed around their whole
circumference. ‘They are coming this way!’