“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. “
– Anatole France
Chance Encounters with Cheetahs – African Adventures
Day 3: 28 October, 2019, Saturday
Seronera, Serengiti National Park, Tanzania
(Greetings in Swahili)
I’ll come to the stunning cheetahs, but let me take you through a little backstory.
We traversed two-thirty five odd kilometres, via the stunning, 2.5 million year old Ngorongoro crater and the the Olduvai Gorge to reach Seronera, Serengeti National Park. The Olduvai Gorge holds the earliest evidence of human existence, dating back millions of years, proving that humans evolved in Africa.
After a pit stop and delicious lunch at the park’s picnic site, we headed to the Savanna grasslands of Seronera. But not without some very close encounters and amicable greetings from the Superb starlings, White-headed Buffalo weavers, a stunning Agama lizard. The Supeb Starlings wanted to feed out of our hands, but since feeding was strictly prohibited we refrained.
As we headed into the park, we crossed many a Zebras, (without the crossings mind you, *grin*) and Wilde beasts. Thereafter we spotted two Lionesses basking in the bushes, probably after a sumptuous lunch, much better than ours. Who knows! And as if that wasn’t enough, we were to have a close encounter with the prized cheetahs, the fastest beings on earth.
Chancing Upon the Cheetahs
We drove almost half an hour, spotting nothing at all. Not even a zebra or Wilde beast or giraffe, till we came across a vantage point where the safari vehicles were lined up, for a close encounter with a cheetah family.
Have you figured out how many cheetahs now? Go ahead tell me if your guesses were right.
Mamma Cheetah sat looking out into the horizon while her moderately grown up cubs, looked on; sometimes unwinding, sometimes cocking their ears and moving their gaze for a possible hunt.
I was blown away by this regal sight. I’ve never seen cheetahs in the wild and watching them a few feet away, was mind boggling and heart-thumping, all at the same time.
They looked hungry, yet non chalant to the paparazzi that was busy capturing them on candid camera. Animals in the African wilderness, I have realised, are pretty much at ease with human interaction. So we would never qualify to satiate their hunger quotient! “Thank god! For small mercies”, I hear you say.
I captured these gorgeous cheetahs on my phone camera. Pardon the not very ideal video quality. It was extremely windy, so much so that my camera was also shaking. And, yes, we did miss the opportunity of carrying a very high quality camera, except for our Nikon DSLR. The pictures of those are with my 11 year-old, and I’ll try to share them too ; as I take you through my African adventures in the days to come.
Till I see you in the coming days, with more stories from the wild and beautiful Tanzania;
Kwaheri (Adios/Goodbye in Swaheli) dear Amigos.
A Boney-M version too!
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