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January 17, 2002

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Another night passed where we thought we had lions in the tent. A lion roaring at night is adrenaline entertainment if you’re sleeping in a piece of thin canvas. We left the Serengeti through the Western corridor, an area teeming with giraffes. Outside the park we passed fertile cornfields until we reached Lake Victoria, the source of the Nile and the world’s second largest lake. We stopped at Speke’s camp, named after the explorer that first believed the Nile flowed from Lake Victoria (most contemporary explorers believed Lake Tanganyika was the Nile’s source). Speke died in a hunting accident before he received any acclaim for his accomplishments. In those days explorers survived native animosity, wild animals, and disease so it’s ironic that Speke died hunting in England. We wondered if he caught bilharzia, a worm that burrows through the skin and swims through the bloodstream to the liver. It lives in Lake Victoria’s calm waters. We camp on the lake’s shore but don’t go swimming. Thousands of midges swarm our lights; we hear tales about fishermen that are suffocated by solid clouds of these insects. Take cover in the tent and shut off all light!
Serengeti lions seem to enjoy sitting in trees.
Lake Victoria sunset without the midges, just finger smudges.