Kilimanjaro: Okita & Team Visit Ngorongoro Crater
It just never let up today. Huge herds of zebras, wildebeest, gazelle and other critters surrounded us throughout the day. Ostriches, hyenas, jackals, hippos, birds and other animals also showed up. However, the lions are what really took the cake. Fifteen individual lions graced our day, some just a few feet away from our rigs.
It was just crazy how many we saw. We saw some big males following a female in heat. The biggest male actually walked around and in front of our Landcruiser in slow pursuit of the girl of his dreams. We observed an older female, said to be the best hunter in the pack, sizing up her opportunities for a kill as the herd of hundreds nervously milled around her in the ‘safe zone’ just out of reach. We also witnessed three females as they cautiously sized up their opportunity for a kill while following a small group of unaware zebras.
And on the road towards the park entrance, when we thought the day done, two exciting events took place.
First, we encountered a pride of four cats walking down the road. Although we made them a little nervous, they didn’t bolt until our excitement got the best of us and they slipped away into the thick brush off the side of the road. The last lion actually hung in the brush just 6-7’ away watching us watch her.
And to top off the day was a call to action when our group came upon a safari vehicle that had rolled off the side of the road and down a steep, 45-55 degree embankment. Caught with just my flip flops on I quickly donned my shoes, but not before our drivers and four of the team hopped out to the rescue. Normally I’d keep well intended but untrained folks away from a scene like this until we came up with a plan, but three of the four were medical professionals and one just darned strong.
By the time I scrambled down the brushy, vine covered slope the ‘walking wounded’ were climbing up to safety and the first people on scene had extricated a young boy trapped under the vehicle and were starting the process of hauling him up this very steep slope.
Following that difficult extrication a quick assessment found no life threatening injuries and we transported him in another tour vehicle to a hospital 20 kilometers away.
Huge kudos go out to Shavran, Liz, Craig and Joe for their selfless and heroic actions. A doctor, nurse, ski patroller and hard man, respectively. This kid was in good hands. Even our driver was instrumental in lifting the vehicle enough to pull the young boy from beneath the wreckage. Shavran and Liz didn’t think twice about jumping into the Landcruiser with our patient to maintain C- spine precautions and monitor his airway during transport.
I later found out that both Shavran and Liz did this in their sandals and flip flops. Wow!
Good news, we think the kid is going to be OK, thanks to the efforts of some incredible individuals. (By the way, in general, let the medical and rescue professionals handle this kind of situation. If you want to be prepared to help in an emergency, get training).
Now, on to our last full day of our safari. Tarangire National Park. What are we going to encounter next ...
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August 1, 2019