It isn’t really clear what we will find in the bandas, so we decide to take sheets, mosquito nets, towels, blankets and drinking water. We have lots of space in our rented 4WD.
The bandas are outfitted and even have chairs. The rangers cook a basic dinner for us and our driver and then offer to build a fire outside our banda after dinner. The only item from our stash of camping gear we needed at all is our drinking water for brushing our teeth and for mixing with the pint bottle of waragi (local gin) and orange squash we have brought for our sundowners.
We have reached the seventh empty fig tree, when my colleague sighs, another lion-less tree! I start to keep count. By noon we have covered almost the whole southern park and have reached lionless fig tree number 37. Even the vultures, who are thick in the tree tops in this area of the park, seem to have given up for the day.
We head off at 7:30 am to find the Tree-roosting lions. When you see the huge fig trees, you understand completely why they took to tree climbing in this local. The fig trees provide voluminous shade and have mammoth, smooth limbs but gnarly branches a lion can drape himself over while he waits in comfort for his wife to bring him his daily catch. The limbs extend horizontally for long stretches and provide a great view.
The following day is Eid on a Sunday so we see both Christians and Muslims making their way to prayer in the morning.
Our driver is determined to redeem himself and has been communing with his ranger colleague to find us lions before we leave the park the next morning. Sure enough we locate two male lions, outside the park, so we even save our park fees, devouring a waterbuck their spouses have provided. We think heading home we have got more than we could possibly have hoped for.ir dugout with heart-shaped paddles as one fisher casts the net and the other maneuvers the craft.
Photos: Tree-climbing lions; Great Blue Turaco; yellow savannah flower; Muslims at Eid; Crested Eagle;fishermen at work.