Serious pampering happened on safari at the Erida Game Reserve. Only a few hours out of Windhoek, it seemed in the middle of nowhere. And, almost as soon as we arrived, it was time for a safari drive. I had a personal tour and that was so very cool.

I saw almost everything I wanted to see with rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and grifaffes along the water's edge. Oryx, kudu, springbok, zebra, ostrich and impala raced in and out of view from the roadside. Some came very close, others just not close enough. But, all were amazing.

Lions were in the area. I knew that because my driver kept in radio contact with other game wardens who spotted them.

It was dark. And although we couldnít see any lions, yet, they could be heard. Our plan was to drive around through the bush to find the lions from the opposite direction of the other vehicles.

Well, you know that plans donít always work out. Yes, we were on the opposite side of the lions. Yes, we were nearing them in the bush and bramble. No, OH NO! We got stuck in the bramble!

That wonderful feeling I had riding in the African wilderness in an open aired vehicle disappeared completely as I sat trapped in the bush with lions in the midst.

There was only one thing to do and I didnít like it one little bit! Iím guessing the driver didnít like it either. He had to get out of the vehicle and hack down a thorn tree to get out of the tangle. Still, he had a machete and a gun.

What did I have? I had a search light. One lousy searchlight to scan those deep dark bushes for any glaring eyes that might be looking back at me!

And really, what could I do if I saw any of those eyes?

You know the joke about lions. You donít have to outrun them. You only have outrun the person you are with. Well, I knew the guide could out run me. AND HE HAD A GUN AND MACHETE! All I had was a search light!

I really didnít have a choice in the situation. So, I scanned every bush. I canít promise the light was very steady, but I certainly scanned everything. No glaring eyes looked back at me. But, I certainly didnít feel as safe as I wanted to feel until the thorn tree was hacked to death and left far behind in our tracks as we got out of that tangle.

Fortunately, no lion was spotted that night. And even better, no guide (or tourist) was eaten either.

I didnít take another night safari.

Copyright 2008 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.