The Man Eating Lion of Kima

After the infamous man eating lions of Tsavo were finally hunted down in 1898, many hoped that they would never have to experience the horrific ordeal again. Sadly, this would not be the case.

Two years later, one more lion would embark on a reign of terror, terrorizing railway workers at a little-known railway station between Kilambweni and Sultan Hamud known as Kima. On the 6th of June 1900, while at the Kima railway station, superintendent of the railway police Mr. C.H Ryall was dragged from his coach by a lion, as his two friends witnessed in horror.

It seemed that this particular lion had a peculiar craving for railway staff, as in the subsequent days following Ryall’s death, it had unsuccessfully tried to obtain a meal by actually climbing onto the roof of the station building and trying to tear the corrugated iron sheets.  The terrified baboo who was on duty that night sent a telegraph message to the traffic manager saying.

“ Lion fighting with station . Send urgent succor “.

A few days later, the lion was captured  by two railway workers and kept on display for a number of days after which it was shot.


The Lion on display at Kima – I/co The iron Snake by Ronald Hardy

63 years after the gruesome incident, two lion cubs from the Scots guard stood in the very same coach from which Ryall was dragged. The coach was at that time on display at the Nairobi Railway Station. The visit by the two cubs in many ways served as a commemoration of C.H Ryall’s tragic death and reminded many of the hardships faced during the railway construction.

Shortly after the visit, a statement regarding the  incident was released by the East African Railways and Harbours reading…



Date 3rd April 1964

       In June 1900, superintendent C.H Ryall of the Uganda Railway Police broke his journey by rail from Mombasa to Nairobi at Kima station. His intention was to sit up all night in his inspection coach and try and kill a man – eating lion which had claimed the lives of a number of laborers engaged in the construction of the Uganda Railway.

       During the night of 6th June , whilst he and his two companions were asleep , the man – eater entered the coach , seized Ryall , and with his body gripped in its jaws , squeezed itself and the burden through an open window of the coach.

       This horrible affair at Kima is essentially a page in the history of the Uganda Railway. It has remained unique after the passage of 63 years and is the only occasion when a man eating lion took a human victim from within a railway coach standing on a siding at a station.

       This coach has been preserved and today stands on Nairobi Railway Station platform. Recently two young lion cubs , the mascots of the 2nd Battalion of the  Scots guard , visited the scene of the crime and viewed the hustle and bustle of the station from the very window used as an exit by the “ Kima Killer “ in 1900.

The 1964, East African Railways and Harbours statement regarding the Kima incident

Man Eater at Kima


The two lion cubs , mascots of the 2nd Batallion Scots Guard

Lion cubs at Kima Station

Today this very coach can be viewed at the Nairobi Railway Museum  along Workshops Road Off Haile Selassie Avenue.

Enjoyed reading this ? Read the full  Men of the Man Eaters story here or you can download the pdf

Men of the Man Eaters

© Thee Agora. 2015