Off Roading

Safari Day 4:

On our safari this morning we went “off roading.”  Apparently, that’s allowed in the Ndutu area, but not the actual Serengeti National Park, so we took full advantage of it. 

We wound up stopping behind a solitary safari vehicle that had spotted three cheetahs in the tall grass.  We called them the “Cheetah Brothers,” having no real idea if they were male or female.  As best our guide could tell, they were still sticking together, having recently left their mother.  We watched them for quite some time just play-fighting with each other and rolling around on the ground. 

After about 15 minutes, the other safari truck moved on and our truck moved up a few feet.  We had not even noticed that a good size herd of wildebeest had formed on the opposite side of the truck, as all of our attention was on the brothers.  Well, when our truck moved up, that must have changed the wind pattern enough that the three brothers smelled the herd.  They sat up and each started sniffing the wind with great interest. 

What transpired over the next 5 minutes is something that I’ll never forget!  They worked as a team to spread out around the herd, then each cheetah SLOWLY inched forward.  Suddenly the herd realized they were there and started to run the chase was on!  Witnessing a cheetah in a flat out run is something to behold!  The power and grace is awe-inspiring, and the amount of energy expelled in such a burst is just incredible!  In the end, two of the three brothers brought down young wildebeests and the feast was on! 

Before the trip I was worried how I’d react if I saw this raw side of nature.  But witnessing this hunt and feast brought the real circle of life into crystal clear focus.  Nature is the real deal, and it has everything worked out!   Nature is a paradox… savage and beautiful at the same time.

Dateline:  Ndutu Conservation Area,  March 2020

Byline: Eliott W.  from Connecticut

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