It was early morning — as half our safaris were at Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa. We climbed as agilely as newbies could into the open vehicle when there was barely any daylight at all. Chilled by damp air, we pulled up our blanket around us and grabbed hold of the hot water bottles given to us by those who waved good-bye and wished us good luck. It was a special moment all four times we went on safari, but one adventure unfolded as a Hollywood drama in the span of a matter of minutes.
The world comes like a lover, courting. But a seeker only sees a hunter, circling its prey. Adiela Akoo
Our party required two vehicles, so we followed second in line down dirt paths, in and around stripped bare trees and communal pools of murky water.
But nothing alerted to us to a real-life drama quite like the immediate pullover by the first group. And then we knew why. With a quick glimpse of a cheetah on the move, we were all on alert.
Colored birds and a host of monkeys picked up the chatter, unaware of specifics but knowledgeable of impending danger. Trees buzzed with nervous chit-chat. And animals on the ground decoded messages from above.
A water buffalo looked up and moved forward.
An elephant seemed annoyed at the prospect of giving up a morning mud bath to see what the chatter was all about.
Zebras turned toward the sound, then cleared the path, only to follow us as we tried to keep up with the stealthy, swift spotted cat.
A sleepy lion aroused — more slowly than we would have thought. “Isn’t this just the drama du jour? Do I really need to come over there?” he seemed to say.
But being king, he moved forward, swiftly and surely as if he knew the routine well.
Our special moments were silent ones, as we became frighteningly aware of magnified sounds of cameras clicking and muffled gasps of amazement.
But then, as quickly as it had begun, the chase ended. We weren’t even sure who was the hunter or the one being hunted. It just ended.
The cheetah who put the reserve on notice stood still — watching, waiting. Then moved on.
We journeyed on as well, looking for drama and more special moments around each curve.
The only man I envy is the man who has not yet been to Africa — for he has so much to look forward to.
Thanks to Tina Schell of Travels and Trifles for this week’s engaging photo challenge — Special Moments. If you’d like to read more entries, be sure to click on the links under her inspiring post this week.
And may you have many special moments — no matter where you are,
Rusha & Bert