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My First Kill

Fortunately I was lucky to have Andrew as my guide at andBeyond's Serengeti Under Canvas. He was very professional in regards to asking about what I wanted to see and do whilst I was at SUC. My response was to see as many kills as possible. This was the one big thing that had alluded me from my previous safaris and something I really wanted to see. Andrew thought that seeing a cheetah kill was going to be my best bet whilst in The Serengeti and we decided to try and see what we could find today.

We were first ones out of camp after I had assembled my GoPros on the car and had everything organised "just in case" we stumbled upon something on our way out. First light broke and we were surrounded by the migration as we searched for any signs of cheetahs on the plains and the horizon. We had some false alarms when I saw some hyena in the distance but finally around 7:30am we stumbled upon a mother and son. Being the first on the scene meant that we were soon joined by other cars as guides were curious why we had not moved after 10 minutes. Soon enough we were a group of up to 8 cars which was annoying but an unfortunate part of being on safari in such a famous area.

The mum and son were on the look out and the amount of cars surrounding them meant that they didn't have any opportunity to look for a feed. Andrew decided to move back from the pair and hopefully encourage other cars to move back as well to open up the area for any potential kill. Many of the cars were shoot and scoot varieties which meant that they were only hanging around for 20-30 minutes and then moving off to tick off another animal on their safari list. Andrew and I were in for the long haul. We settled down with coffee and biscuits, binoculars on hand and cameras ready. One hour became two, two became three etc until we were hitting the 4.5 hour mark. Andrew was hopeful that midday meant that most cars would head back to camp for lunch and he was correct. Only two cars remained and they too decided to move back and give the cheetah plenty of hunting space.

Fortunately within 30 minutes of opening up the area some impala started feeding within the vicinity of the cheetah who had now crouched down low in the grass so that we could barely see them. The suspense was beyond belief as Andrew and I waited patiently for the cheetah to attack. Without warning the cheetah mum struck and the four impala started running and jumping in every direction. I was shaking as I tried valiantly to record the attack and was surprised at how fast not only were the cheetah moving but the impala as well. The cheetah son joined in on the chase and I could see the impala running as fast as her legs would take her. Soon the kill was complete and Andrew turned on the engine and we drove within the recommended distance to see the cheetah mum dragging the dead impala to some area of cover to start eating. The son was on constant lookout so that all their hard won effort was rewarded instead of being taken away by a hyena or other predator.

The cheetah were visibly exhausted as they finally found some protected area to put their kill down in. They both rested a little before the son took the first bite whilst the mum stood guard. Soon the mum started to eat with the son standing guard. Within moments of the mum eating we could see that the impala was pregnant and that was maybe why she wasn't as fast as the other impala in her group. It was certainly a quick lesson in nature whilst watching these animals and an awesome yet humbling experience.

Finally after watching for 40 minutes we decided to head back to camp to check out the photos and videos. I was so surprised at how quick the attack/kill was and how fast the cheetah can run. This is something that no Nat Geo Wild show can really depict. Back in camp I enjoyed another beautiful meal and some wine whilst bragging how my patience finally paid off. Two other andBeyond cars had decided to return to camp thinking that nothing was going to eventuate and the guests were very disappointed about missing all the action. Definitely a safari lesson learnt and one I will continue to remember when out on drives in the future.


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