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BARAKA NDOGO (small blessings)


PHALANX
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Firstly I would like to thank those who have made me feel welcome with their kind messages.



The one from "Caracal" made me realise how easy it is to get caught up in the BIG picture of Africa. Big game, big scenery etc, that I overlooked the game that now really gets me excited, the little guys.



So, as it was Caracal who reminded me of this fact it is only right I make amends and start with this most beautiful of cats. All my sightings have occurred in Kenya.



My first sighting was in Samburu National reserve in northern Kenya in 1982. It was a brief sighting as the Caracal dashed across the road in front of us & disappeared into the long grass. It was all I could do to capture the moment in my memory before our guide was shouting excitedly, "did you see it, did you see it". Thankfully, yes we did.



A few years later in 1986 we saw our second in the Masai Mara, but again it was a brief encounter as the Caracal moved through the red oat grass on the Mara plains, it's head & back breaking cover every now and then before it vanished.



It was in 1989 when the first proper sighting occurred. On this occasion we were staying at Salt lick lodge in Tsavo west, a lodge with a very productive water hole, especially at night. It had been nine years since we started coming to Kenya and I was still as excited as when we first came, I still do not want to miss anything. So, if in the night I awake or need to get up, I always check if there is anything happening outside. On this occasion our room overlooked the water hole and on a clear moonlit night I was stunned when I looked out and saw two Caracal walking past the waterhole. In my excitement I called out to my wife, but at 3 am this was not appreciated. I watched them until they disappeared into the African night. Phew! as you can imagine I did not get much more sleep that night with a game drive at 6.30 am.



It would be nine years before our next sighting, and this took place while we were driving back from Amboseli on a track that was a short cut to the main road. Like our first sighting the Caracal came out of nowhere and dashed across the road in front of us, but this time it stopped and looked at us for a few moments and then melted into the dense thicket.



Another ten years passed before we saw number six. This time we were on a game drive in Tsavo East. Driving along a road which ran adjacent to the Galana river we noticed some movement in the grass that led down to the river. Just as we stopped the Caracal came out of the long grass, and taking no notice of us, walked purposefully along the edge of the grass for about ten meters before vanishing back into the vegetation.



Our last sighting, number seven, was on a night drive on Ol Pejeta while staying at Sweetwaters tented camp. We had just seen a Cheetah kill a Thompson Gazelle and were driving away when the Caracal suddenly appeared in the spotlight. It weaved in & out of the spotlights beam before going beyond the spotlights range.



Sadly I have no photos. I was always afraid that by the time I had got hold of my camera the Caracal would be gone and I would have missed all these magical moments that I have just shared with you. AJ

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Many thanks @@PHALANX - those wonderful memories when time's of the essence take precedence over photos.

 

Like @@PT123 - it's seven more than I've seen too!

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Maybe the 3:00 AM wakeup call would have been more appreciated if you both had known it would be nine years before you got another chance! :)

Great story.

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this most beautiful of cats.

 

 

@@PHALANX I couldn't agree more. A very beautiful creature. I've seen one in the wild more than 10 years ago and i still remember the sighting like it was just yesterday.

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You're a very lucky man, but sounds like you've paid your dues to get those 7 sightings. One right after a cheetah kill too - sometimes the safari gods just smile, don;t they?

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I know what you mean @@PHALANX - sometimes trying to obtain a photo of a "quickie" encounter only results in missed viewing and no photo either...

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