The Circle of Life

During my five day safari, I snapped over 1,600 photos. I became obsessive and treated each sighting like a magazine photo shoot. At every encounter, my right eye was glued behind my camera’s view finder. Nearing the end of my trip, I realized I needed to simply enjoy the view and action, not just capture the scene. But as the safari progressed, I became selfish; not only did I want to see the animals but I also wanted to see them in action. Fortunately, that’s what I got.

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In the middle of the day, you don’t really expect to see much predator wildlife since the weather is so hot; however, we were lucky enough to see a full-grown cheetah with her three cubs. The cubs were adorable! Their puffed long fur made them look more like pomeranians than cheetahs. As I was admiring the litter, a stampede of wildebeest crossed the savannah behind me. I didn’t know what this large heard was hurdling towards, but I’m happy I wasn’t in their way.

Just when I thought that was good, our last game drive exceeded my expectations. We started at 6am. The mountains were coated in dew and the air was crisp. An hour in, our driver received a muffled radio call about a special sighting. Although the conversation was in Swahili, I did recognize one word, Simba! Again our van flew through the bush, dodging mud holes and rocks. I honestly don’t know how these drivers navigate through such a large park. We arrived to a grassy patch where a pair of lions was evidently enjoying breakfast! By the distinctive remnants of their prey, the horns and the hoofs, we could tell the unfortunate victim was a wildebeest. To be honest, I never knew something as horrifying as seeing an animal tear through a bloody carcass, could be so beautiful. The act was so natural and real. The lioness was possessive, hugging the carcass under her chest.  Her face and body was expressive; I could hear her grinding and crunching through a bone and see her pull a tendon from the prey’s rib cage. For me, this is raw nature. This is the circle of life (my last Lion King reference, I promise!)

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