Crying child lions and hyenas – Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park reserve scene

Ruaha National Park reserve scene

Baobab in Ruaha National Park

Baobab in Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park dry river

Ruaha National Park dry river

Ruaha National Park night fire

Ruaha National Park night fire

Ruaha Elephants

Ruaha Elephants

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Lion

Lion

Ruaha National Park Bandas

Ruaha National Park Bandas

One of my concerns about our trip was traveling into the game parks with our dauughter Lily, and how we were going to manage a 2.5 year old amongst the animals and especially when there were no fences around your campsite.
Nic took me to Botswana on several occasions and although exhilarating spotting the game and hearing the lions and hyenas at night close to our tent, it would always be a little frightening and you could never fully relax.
Fortunate for us, Lily has been really good in the game parks whether it is the fact she senses something from us or that we are always talking to her not to run off and stay close to mummy and daddy.
She does not run off and she enjoys playing in the boot of the car next to the fridge whilst I am preparing food on the stove. This is really good as I can see her, talk to her and make dinner at the same time. We never leave her on her own, let her play away from us or out of our sight, as it is just too risky. Even whilst we were in the Nechsar national park Ethiopia I didn’t even like her playing on the other side of the car, in broad daylight, out of my sight what with opportunistic baboons and hyenas not far away.
There was one time in the Serengeti when it was dark, I was cooking food and Lily was in her usual place, the boot, and daddy was in the shower. My back was turned to the bush and Lily then says she has seen a lion. I nearly sh*t myself but after quizzing her she then tells me she was referring to the lion seen earlier in the day! I certainly took her seriously though in the first instance.
We have spent several nights camping in unfenced game parks; Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Nechsar and Sibioli. However we felt the most amongst the game camping next to the Great Ruaha river in Ruaha National Park Tanzania as we were surrounded by snorting hippos and grumbling elephants splashing in the river.
It was a beautiful sunset and we had an hour to get the tent up and cook. We parked the car close to the showers and loos and set up. Nic was dragging wood for a camp fire whilst I was looking after Lily. When we came into the park, we were booked to sleep in the Bandas but after looking at our tin hut and being boiling hot inside, we thought camping would be more comfortable. It is always a little bit worrying when your tent is on the ground as opposed to being onto top of the car but having sold our roof tent in Nairobi we had no choice and the ground it was.
We went to bed with a roaring campfire and lights on the tent hoping nothing would bump into us and creep around us. We both woke to a lion (or two) roaring in the distance, which at the best of times is scary. We just hoped it didn’t get louder like the time we spent in Khutse Botswana 4 years before where the male lion was just 200m away from our camp and we all s*at ourselves as we all dashed into our tents.
This time is a little more concerning as we have a small person with us. Later that night Lily had a nightmare and cried for about five minutes. We tried our best to calm her down and eventually she did stop and as she stopped the whooping of the hyena started! Lily in her post nightmare state whooped back, which was sort of funny and then she fell asleep. Apparently hyenas will come into camp if they hear a baby/child’s cry as they think it’s an injured animal. Nic and I both knew this hence trying to calm her as quickly as possible. As a result Nic got out of the tent and relit the fire at 3.30am to keep the lions and hyenas at bay.
Despite that we would say Ruaha National Park was an awesome experience.

About familyinafrica

Passionate about travelling, nature, raising awareness for wildlife conservation projects and teaching my fellow man about travelling community health.
This entry was posted in Accommodation, Amazing drives, Lily, Tanzania and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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