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There is Always One

If he or she is worth their weight in salt, your guide will give you instructions and warnings throughout your African safari. You should heed these warnings. Other tourists, you might witness, may not heed these warnings but instead will flex their macho muscles which can lead to some bush entertainment. One such event I witnessed was down in the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania - an amazing caldera ten miles in circumference filled with wildlife. My guide and I had packed a lunch for our long day of wildlife spotting down in the crater. Around noon we headed for a freshwater lake where you can get out of your car to use the restroom and enjoy the scenery. Many people stop there for lunch as my guide and I had done.

We pulled our Land Rover up to a spot with the lake in front of us just off in the near distance. To the right was a huge tree that shaded parts of both the bank and the lake. My guide informed me, as we came to a stop, I was welcome to take a walk but when I was ready to eat I should come back to the car. Birds, yellow billed kites to be specific, realized long ago human’s equal food and they swarmed the sky above the safari vehicles and sat perched in the branches of the tree awaiting the human treats.

My guide rolled down his window of our safari vehicle and pulled out his boxed lunch. I did the same. While I chewed on my chicken leg, a Range Rover pulled up beside us. We heard that driver give his passenger the same warning my guide had given me. But this tourist – a bald big bellied middle-aged man – decided for himself it would be okay for him to sit under the tree to eat so off he waddled with his Styrofoam container in hand.

My guide smiled broadly knowing the show was about to begin. He turned to me and said, “Watch this”. The big bellied man struggled to sit down on the thick tree root. The very second he got settled and opened the food container he was attacked from all sides by the birds of prey. A war took place on his head, in his lap, on his arms and his legs; it was a battle of the birds to see who could take the most of his food. Blood came from a cut on his forehead caused by a birds’ talon.

The fat man was slinging his arms about trying to keep the birds away from his face but before this man could even gather his composure and really make himself aware of what was happening, his food was all gone and the Styrofoam container was shredded to bits.

My guide laughed hysterically from deep down in his chest. He and the fat man’s driver in the truck beside ours were doubled over in sheer pain from laughing so hard.

My guide, who’s English was somewhat broken, chose the perfect words. He said, “There is always one”.

This picture was taken after the fact but under the very tree....

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