Kenya: Rules of the Wild

words + photos by Ellen Barone

It was a few days into my first African safari when I learned the Fourth Rule of Safari Travel: When you think you’ve spotted a lion, casually ask the guide “What’s that?” rather than blurt out “There's a lion!” because 9 times out of 10 the ‘lion’ will be a termite mound.

Later on, I’d learn other rules: No. 7, If you’re squeamish about eating flesh avoid restaurants with the word Carnivore in their title; No. 13, Never run out of the safari tent, half naked, screaming “there’s a creature in my bed” before you’ve determined it isn’t a hot water bottle put there by the room steward to take the chill off a high-altitude night; and No. 17, Avoid standing up suddenly in an open-top Land Rover with a metal roll-bar above your head.


Photo Slide Show by Ellen Barone

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It was from the deck of a luxurious tent (complete with a carved mahogany four-poster bed) amid the amusing snorts and bellows of cavorting hippos in the river below that I first realized I was becoming immensely qualified to draft a new book proposal: The Idiot’s Guide to Safari (or should it be Safari for Dummies?)

Safari rule No. 8, A power outage is more than an annoying inconvenience when all that separates you and a river full of 5,000-pound hippos is an electric fence. (*Note, the Hippopotamus kills more people in Africa then all the other animals combined.)

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