On the afternoon of our second day, we raced to the spot where Godfrey, our guide, had heard that a cheetah was seen. When we arrived, two jeeps of game watchers sat waiting patiently, eyes trained on a spot in the tall grass where the cheetah was supposed to be.
We were looking at the same place for so long, I no longer trusted what I was seeing. Was that a log or the cheetah? The grass was so tall, the color so similar to the cheetah’s skin, I couldn’t be sure. My eyes could play tricks on me but my camera wouldn’t lie, so I pointed it in the general direction, ready to shoot when the cheetah appeared.
We continued to sit and wait, whispering among ourselves from time to time; the radios silenced, so as not to startle the animal. After a while, the other jeeps gave up and left but Godfrey didn’t move. The cheetah, he said, had eaten the previous night and was resting, so we stayed put.
I’m not sure how long we waited, excitement bubbling in my stomach. Then Godfrey, binoculars covering his eyes, whispered urgently and pointed.
Where was it? There it is! Where? Where? We were all whispering loudly at the same time.
The cheetah had gotten up and was walking along. But by the time we spotted it, it dropped unexpectedly into the grass, as if its legs had failed him.
I couldn’t see much through my digital camera so I just snapped several times, hoping I’d get something. This is the best of the lot. If you look closely at the middle of the photo just before the log, you’ll see it.
Caroline did much better.
I’m glad Godfrey decided to wait as this was the only cheetah we would see.