A Glimpse and He was Gone

Sabi Sand | January 2020

The mission was to safari down into the Southern areas to find a pride of lions, which had been spotted moving North the previous afternoon. It wasn’t too long and we were in the right area surrounded by a dry grassland, desperately waiting for the first rains to relieve the stress!

We stopped to survey the open expanse, in the hope of spotting the lions lying down in the most obvious places. Just as I was about to put down my binoculars, there they were, lying ‘legs up’ not too far from a watering hole! Approaching the large felines that were now more aware of our presence, a couple of them sat up and watched us coming towards them.

There wasn’t much movement from the pride as they looked engorged and had remnant signs on their faces that they had made a killl and fed in the night!

We decided to leave them digesting their meal and ventured further South.

As we moved through a dense thicket of Sicklebush and apporoached a termite mound, I spotted another cat! At first, I thought it was a leopard but quickly realised that it was a cheetah using the height of the temite mound to scan over and through the dense bush.

The cheetah didn’t stop to admire our approach, instead it turned away from us and bolted in the oppostite diection. We tried to follow it through the fierce Sicklebush, but didn’t spot it again. Finally making it to the next road we found tracks of the cheetah that looked like it was running after a small antelope.

We drove slowly on the road looking everywhere for it and then there it was, walking through a clearing with an impala lamb in it’s mouth! The cheetah lay down next to a Magic Guarri bush and dropped the lamb for a second before grabbing it again. Startled by a noise beyond where we were, the cheetah left the impala lamb and ran off. Only once it was sure there was no other predator around did it return.

I saw that the impala was infact not dead yet, as it’s stomach started moving and looked like it wanted to stand up. Still looking around for any threats, the cheetah only took control again of the impala lamb once it stood up and ran straight into the cheetahs head!

The cheetah then gave it a final wriggle and that was the end of the little impala lamb.