In every direction, save a narrow segment where we had just entered, we could observe the rolling expanses of the savanna around a raised clearing as seen from, I estimated shrewdly, the vantage-point of the top of that tall tower I had noted outside. Unlike the deserted landscape through which we had so recently driven, the veldt around us swarmed with beasts: a herd of antelope in one direction, zebra and wildebai in others, and a pride of lions could just be glimpsed sheltering under a tree apparently in the middle distance.
In the centre of the clearing stood a shooting platform formed from a large steam-powered wagon, not currently fired, and fitted with three positions for hunters to stand. Around each spot were all the accoutrements for hunting: boxes of ammunition, spotting scopes and monopod aiming stands, and a loader holding ready one of several powerful rifles available in each position.
The illusion of being out in the Masai Mara was astonishingly convincing, I thought, although not completely so. No wind could be felt, although wisps of smoke with no apparent source could be seen drifting across the plains in one direction, presumably in reality emitted from the chimney I had noted earlier. The motions of the animals, too, seemed unnatural, slightly wooden and repetitive in their movements.
It was already beginning to dawn on me exactly what was Sir Edgar's "great advance".
"Welcome to the Tracker's Camera Obscura!" he pronounced, "A revolution in the training of marksmen and hunters."
(more coming soon)