[I am back from a trip to Kenya that recharged my batteries which had been yearning for the wild. After deleting the obvious duds, I have only 2500 photos to go through, and many many stories to tell you. I had settled into a routine of blogging weekly, but now I will just send them once I have something ready to show you. If the tale I want to tell is long, like this one, it will be in two or more installments.]
In the Maasai Mara, I stayed for the second time at Saruni Wild, a Maasai run camp in Lemek Conservancy with only 3 tents. My extraordinary guide was William Tinka.
One morning we were looking for cheetah, and as usual Tinka saw them long before I could discern them even with binoculars. We got close, and you may be able to see that one has climbed the tree, not something I associate with cheetah:
It was a five-month old cub, one of three.
It came down:
and joined its mother and the others:
They played for about 20 minutes
until the mother began to move, though they kept playing as they followed.
When they run, you can see how their back feet land in front of the front feet, the iconic picture of a cheetah at speed.
Two of the cubs came to investigate the vehicle
One tried to climb in
But then the mother appeared like greased lightning and chased it off, sending a clear message that this was too close.
While they continued to play,
the mother checked out the landscape for game,
then started a purposeful slink through the long grass:
The cubs followed
but then, with no clear signal, they stopped dead, sat completely still (our kids never did that),
and their mother set out alone on the day’s grocery shopping.
You will have to wait to see what happened next.