Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Moment of a Lifetime - Dust Cloud

Here's the moment from 2013 that I'd like to think of as one of the moments of my life!

We were leaving the Serengeti in Tanzania, on our way to Masai Mara in Kenya. I was pretty pleased with our Camping Safari so far; I'd seen my favo(u)rite animal - the Cheetah -  and we'd seen myriad animals - including a lioness and her cubs feeding the earlier afternoon!

We were passing the Grumeti river, and came across a herd of zebra drinking water. Rikki was the photographer (see his fantastic photos) and I was the videographer. We stopped on the road across the river to get a good angle on the zebra - check the video above. The zebra were very thirsty and were enjoying their drink, but were obviously very nervous. They would stop, and suddenly take off crazily up the bank incline, and then run back to serve their thirst again. This repeated several times. I recorded until I ran out of battery power, also eventually tired of this repetitive behavior. I even noted in the video that they were probably nervous since this was lion country (we'd just seen a pride relaxing on the dry river bed a few minutes earlier).

Zebra's gotta drink when zebra's gotta drink!

Just as I turned off the dying camera; Godlove, our driver and guide, said "Lion!"

I was still looking down and  fumbled with the camera to see if I could get the video going again; but the camera was dead :-(.

I looked up and there was a cloud of dust in front, as the herd bolted.

Luckily for us, Rikki was amazing with his camera, huge lens and all! So the pictures below tell it all, and chronicle this moment of our lifetime -  a moment that encapsulated our Africa adventure; a moment that I'll remember forever.

A lion and lioness had suddenly emerged on the scene (we'd probably just passed them hiding in the bushes a few feet behind us). The zebra had probably smelled their presence, explaining their erratic up-and-down routine.

In a span of a few seconds and in a plume of  dust, the lion and lioness attacked the herd  The zebra took off in a hurry. The hunt was unsuccessful, and the regal couple gave up in a few seconds - conserving energy for the next hunt.  The zebra also stopped, casually looking over their shoulders at the feline couple as they lumbered away towards the shade.

We stopped a few feet from them as they rested; they were nonchalant and unperturbed. It's good to be royalty!

Like Silicon Valley Startups, only one in every 10 hunts is successful!

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