In 1956, Angus Waltham was on safari in Tanzania with his parents. On a hike through the bush, their group came across the dead body of a lioness with a small cub trying to nurse from it.
The cub clearly stood no chance of survival alone, and although their guide recommended that they leave the cub to its fate, Angus managed to convince his parents to let them take the cub back to Dar Es Salaam to live with them at the embassy. Angus called the cub ‘Ndizi’, after a famous Tanzanian sportsman.
For a little over a year, Ndizi lived at the embassy, often to be found playing with Angus – The boy and cub became inseperable, and Ndizi grew from a small cuddly animal into a much larger killing machine. Although there were no serious incidents at the embassy, after a few close calls where some live-in servants were badly scared by Ndizi, Angus’ parents told him that the lion had to go. Angus reluctantly agreed, and with many tears, Ndizi was loaded into a cage on a truck, and sent on a long road trip back to Mikumi, where he was released. Initially, Ndizi tried to follow the truck, and wouldn’t leave them alone until one of the guides fired a shot from his rifle into the air to scare Ndizi away. Angus never forgot that cub or the amazing events of that day.
Eight years later he was travelling through from Udzungwa to Dar on business when the jeep that he was in suffered a puncture. In the heat of midday sun, Angus and his driver changed the flat tyre, and as they lowered the jack, and stood back they heard a low throaty rumble coming from behind them. An adult lion had managed to get within 15 meters of them.
The large lion stared at Angus and sniffed the air, then slowly walked towards Angus. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was his childhood friend from many years ago.
As the lion came close enough to touch, Angus summoned up his courage, reached out his hand and let the lion sniff his palm. The lion reared up on it’s back legs, placed it’s massive paws on his shoulders, looked Angus in the eye, and then bit his face off.
Probably wasn’t the same lion.