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My wife & I were staying at Sweetwater's tented camp on Ol Pejeta conservancy near Nanyuki, Kenya. While there we went on a night game drive. We had been on many night drives before, and in many varied terrains which has given us the opportunity to see a wide variety of animals. So as we ventured out into Ol Pejeta' 90,000 acres, we did so with an open mind as to what the African night would reveal to us.

It was not long before our guides searchlight picked up on the startled eyes of a herd of Impala. They settled down as we passed them by, and then a few moments later, a small herd of Zebra raced across the road in front of us. The first big spot of the night was a Caracal, which quickly melted into the bush after our headlights had disclosed it's whereabouts. Being 6,000ft up the night air was crisp, and in a cloud free sky the Milky way had dominance over the scene that lay before us. An almost full moon bathed the open grasslands in a soft cool light. Ghostly shapes moved silently through the magical scene that was unfolding before us, Buffalo, Waterbuck & White Rhino among them, seeking safety on the open plains where predators would have little cover if trying to ambush them.

As we moved on our guides searchlight revealed a large herd of Thompson's Gazelles. As we slowly moved towards them, the guide picked up on a distinct nervousness about the herd, then suddenly they scattered in all directions. The guides searchlight searched frantically for the cause of the panic. Then as the dust settled, there it was, a Cheetah crouching low in the grass. We moved slowly closer, but keeping a respectful distance, and as we got closer we saw that amid the panic, one of the Thomson's gazelles had run straight into it's ambush. With our engine now turned off, and with the sound of thundering hooves subsiding, all we could hear was the tragic last bleats of the Tommie as the Cheetah delivered the final coup de grate. The Cheetah fed quickly, it knew there would be other predators on the prowl and would soon pick up on the commotion and the scent of blood in the air.

It took us some time to gather our thoughts as to what had just happened. Neither the driver or the guide had ever seen a Cheetah kill at night before, and it was a definite first for us. As we made our way back to camp we had a most pleasant surprise when we came across a small family of stripped Hyena.

Once again Africa had surprised us, and long may it continue to do so.





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Evocative language and photos. That cheetah kill is something to remember!

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What a brilliant drive. I felt I was there with you, senses sharpened by the cool night air.

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