Name ID 1578
Norton, Boyd The African Elephant: Last Days of Eden
Extract Date: 1991
We camped that night at Naabi Hill in the eastern part of the 6000 square-mile Serengeti National Park. From the tent I heard hyenas giggling nearby and the scream of tree hyraxes. As usual I drank too much beer at supper and had to relieve a full bladder at 3:00 a.m. Unzipping the tent quietly, so as not to disturb others, I stumbled out into the darkness and walked thirty or forty feet away, whereupon I peed long and hard, shivering in the cold while looking up sleepily into a star-filled sky. Then back to the tent, almost missing it in the blackness of the moonless night. The next morning my guide informed me that he heard a tent unzip at 3:00 a.m. and he opened his own tent flap to peer outside. Shining his flashlight into the darkness, he spotted two large lions walking by. I did not drink any more beer at supper for the duration of our stay in the Serengeti. It's easy to forget that there are still things here that will make a meal out of frail humans. On the other hand it's nice to know that, in some respects, this wilderness has remained the same since the Pleistocene began.
Or, as Edward Abbey once said, "it ain't really wilderness unless there's something out there that can eat you."
In a total of three trips to the Serengeti I feel as though I've barely scratched the surface of this vast land. Most of my wanderings have been confined to the eastern and central portions of the park, from Naabi Hill and Ndutu to the Simba Kopjes and the lovely Seronera Region, and to the Moru Kopjes with their colourful and mysterious Maasai cave paintings.