“The wilds” are not unfamiliar to us. We’ve traveled to remote corners of North and Central America: places where poisonous snakes and scorpions reign, and the home grounds of moose and elk and bears: black and grizzly. There have been trips when we hauled around cans of pepper spray in the same size that people buy air freshener. But, we are a little intimidated by African carnivores. We witnessed two lions hunt and bring down a wart hog, and had other lions stalk our land rover on a game drive on our last trip. We’ll be plenty aware when we are on the ground, and not safely tucked in our vehicle or tent.
We are ready to head into “the wilds.” We’ve taken care of all of our official documents. We’ve been poked in all the appropriate places with all the appropriate vaccines. We’ve paid all the fares, fees and taxes we can until we arrive in Zambia. Heck, we’re even two-thirds packed.
Lacking much of anything else left to do to prepare, I picked up one of the guide books last night and started reading the section on bush camping. I’m sure that I read this section while we were determining if self-drive camping was for us. But, now that we are much closer to departure, this short paragraph caught my attention.
According to Chris McIntyre in the Bradt guide to Zambia, “Don’t expect an unattended fire to frighten away wild animals – that works in Hollywood, but not in Africa. A campfire might help your feelings of insecurity, but lion and hyena will disregard it with stupefying nonchalance.”
So. There you have it. Stupefying nonchalance. Huh. Who knew?