Travel Journal | Kenya

Lion Bait

It’s necessary to lay the cameras down from time to time. It’s especially necessary when you’re on the back of a Honda dirtbike in the remote Masai region of southern Kenya.

It was our last day there. We’d seen rhinos, giraffes, elephants, zebras, and herds of other wild animals. But we hadn’t seen what we wanted most to see: the lion. So we went out on dirtbikes, scouring the African landscape for Mufasa. In the meantime we chased herds of gazelle, wildebeest, and giraffe. As we rode right along with them getting thick mud clods kicked up on us I realized: this was quite possibly the coolest thing I’d ever done. However, when I see the scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park of the evil poachers chasing the dinos, I think of us that day. We didn’t exactly leave nature undisturbed.

Suddenly, there it was. About fifty yards away – a female lion staring right at us. We oohhed and aahhed at her for a few minutes and left to ride around some more. Later when we rode back near that same spot, we saw her again. This time she turned around and walked into some tall grass reeds. Then out came something I’ll never forget. It was the male. Adorned in his huge mane, he watched us, never looking away. I think we were all a little uncomfortable realizing that we were in the wild, not on some animal reserve. I truly felt like a huge T-bone steak with my head on top.

After the missionary that we were with advised us to slowly turn our bikes around and leave, we didn’t argue.

Now that I’m back, I guess I see cats a little differently. If you’d ever been lion bait, I bet you would too.