Thursday – Cheetah
Out in the field, a few hours after leaving camp, I stop the bike and climb up on the saddle to scan a wildebeest herd. Routinely I scan and then (without actually hoping to find any) I scan for cheetah as well. My eyes shoot down to the receiver as it gives a loud beep on one of the cheetah.
I look in the direction of the loudest beep and immediately see the gracious shape of a cheetah sticking out of the tall grass, looking around for prey with her front-paws perched on an anthill.
It’s LCH-180! And she’s hunting! Excited about my unexpected meeting, I start to follow her on her hunt.
Around 13.00 it gets really hot but that only seems to bother me. LCH-180 has chased a few oribis so far but she’s not been able to get close enough. Obviously motherhood (we think she’s having cubs) has made her hungry because she continues to hunt during the heat of the day without even so much as a 5-minute rest break. While I’m getting hungry too and fried by the sun, Miss 180 continues her hunt with endless patience and determination.
Around 15.00 I get distracted for 2 seconds, looking at some birds flying up far away, but when I look back to find 180 I see her speeding up behind an oribi! I watch intensely as the oribi runs and runs and she chases and chases. When they go into the tall grass I see a little cloud of dust rise up and I throw my hands up. YES! After an excellent chase of an estimated 250m, I find LCH-180 again, this time choking an adult female oribi.
She needs 15 minutes to recover from the long and fast chase and I can’t help but looking at her in awe. LCH-180 is the coolest cheetah of all and the one I’ve spent most time with. She’s very patient, waits for the right opportunity and when she’s really hungry, she will always kill, even if it takes her all day. Now that she’s killed, she can eat and then go back to her cubs, ensuring their survival, and that’s just awesome.
It takes her 1.5 hours to eat almost the entire oribi and after she’s done she lays herself down with a belly as round as a basketball. Soon she will go back to her babies. But it’s 16.30, and that’s my time to go back to camp and find some food too.
Friday – Everyone has a talent
I once wrote about the pole I got as a belated birthday present, to climb in and stuff. Well, although there are some challenges sometimes, such as the weather, sand and insects, I train a lot and teach myself new tricks and I feel good about that. But then I look at Instagram videos and I realise that I will never be as good as the girls (and guys) on there. They are always stronger, more gracious and more flexible than me.
But I won’t let that get me down. Because I’m discovering all kinds of new talents while climbing in my bushpole. Did you know, for example, that yours truly can hit 3 mosquitoes AT A TIME? While DANGLING on a pole? UPSIDE DOWN?
Now go on and find an Instagrammer who can do that!
Sunday - Cookie day
Not to make you jealous or anything, but Daan gave us the day off today and I used it to make speculaas and peanutbutter cookies.
Happy Mother’s Day!