Miki said to be sure and pound our shoes on the ground in the morning, heels down, in case a stray scorpion moved in during the night. Harry said not to worry about malaria, that the whole Selby family had had malaria at one time or another and it was easy to shake. And the mamba? The little green snake that can kill you in five minutes? Don't give it a thought. You seldom see one. Besides, there was this terrific snakebite kit. "In fact," Harry said, "the doctor tells me we're better equipped in the field than the Maun hospital."
He said there hadn't been many man-eating lions around this part of the world since they built the railroad in Kenya. Then the lions used to come into the railroad shacks at night, put their back paws on the lower bunk, their front paws on the middle bunk, and lift the man of their choice off the top.
I asked Miki if scaring the daylights out of the clients was regular first-night fare or was this a special treat.
"Oh, my, no," she said sweetly. "We just don't consider you clients at all."
"Besides," said Harry, "you met our flying doctor, the big fellow at the airstrip who was wrestling with that stubborn gate?"
"Ripped the bloody gate off with his bare hands is what he did," said Peter.
"That's him," said Harry. "His specialty is flying 14 feet off the ground and taking the tops off trees on take-offs. He'll rescue you from anything."
"That's very comforting," said Peter.
We finished our early-morning tea and coffee, pounded our shoes, heels down, on the floor at Riley's and went out to meet Harry. The Land Rover was loaded with our gear and more supplies. The big lorry had gone on ahead with $18,000 worth of camp equipment, including a large refrigerator ("ice cubes for the gin and tonic!" Peter shouted) and a wide variety of comfort-makers—a shower tent, a toilet tent, tablecloths, silverware, etc.—that Harry distinguishes as "civilized living" and not luxuries. The lorry also carried the 12 porters who would set up and tend camp.
Lukas, a shiny-black little native with a floppy felt hat, loaded on the arsenal: a .416 Rigby and .458 Browning for elephant; a .375 Browning and .375 Winchester for buffalo and lion, or even an elephant; the comfortable 7 mm. Weatherby Magnum for medium-sized game (zebra, kudu, sable, sitatunga, impala, wildebeest); a 12-gauge shotgun for guinea fowl and a .22 for administration of coup de gr�ce. We had planned for a 10-day safari and, in order to see as much as possible of Harry and his new country, to do only a minimum of shooting—that which was allowed on the general license and was necessary for the pot, and, perhaps, a buffalo or a kudu. If presented the opportunity, we might try for a black-maned lion.