“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – African Safari 4

Adventures at Serengeti Mara Camp

Slip Sliding Away

As we head for home after one outing, it begins raining. As the “roads” are really just dirt tracks made by constant tire passage, they immediately become very slippery. But since we aren’t going really fast, and there aren’t any other vehicles around, slipping and sliding is like a thrill ride — how exciting!

Wildebeest Rescue

But then, almost home, we come upon a real-life tragedy. A wildebeest has slipped and fallen on his back into a gully – only about two feet deep, but too narrow for him to get back on his feet. The rest of the herd cannot break their migration or help him in any way, and so he is abandoned to his fate.

But we aren’t inured to the nature of the wild and ask Roland if there isn’t some way to help the beast. Roland says that a wildebeest’s hind legs are very powerful and can cause a dreadful injury. We assure Roland we don’t want him to do anything too risky, but ask again if we can rescue him somehow. Roland studies the situation and nods, then pulls the truck up even with the wildebeest’s head, very close to it. This distracts the animal from Roland’s next action. He ties a slipknot around the wildebeest’s hind leg and the other end to the truck bumper.

Then Roland very slowly backs up the truck, gradually pulling the wildebeest out of the gully. The wildebeest scrambles to his feet, but realizes his hind leg is still tethered to the truck. Roland gets out, warily loosens the slip knot from around the animal’s leg, and hops back in the truck. The wildebeest stands still for another moment, then turns to look at us (I believe he was saying “Thanks!”), and takes off! We are so happy to have cheated the vultures and hyenas of that meal!

Cheetah at “Play”

Then we spot the cheetah! Such a regal and graceful creature she is. For about an hour we are enthralled as she plays like a kitten and poses for us on a fallen log. Roland tells us the cheetah probably plays around to lull nearby animals into complacence, convincing them she has no interest in hunting today. Then, when they’re totally relaxed, she strikes! We kept waiting for her to make her move, but she never did. Roland said they can play like that for hours before they strike. Dinner was waiting at camp, so we bid the wily cat farewell.

Lions in the Night

That evening, after dinner, as we’re getting ready for bed, a pride of lions start roaring! They weren’t too close to our camp, but because the wind was blowing our way, we could hear them clearly for about fifteen minutes, as though they were just over the hill. What an exciting sound as you’re getting ready to sleep!