Tanzania Safari – Day 4

We spend another day on safari in the Serengeti Mara area of Serengeti National Park. Catch up on day 1, 2 and 3.

It’s only day four and I’ve already fallen woefully behind on the list of creatures sighted that I had intended to keep. Lee is taking pictures of everything; I’ll be able to match-up when we get home, I tell myself.

After a long full day in the land cruiser the day before, we break today into two game drives, with a lunch back at camp in between. We stop by the spot where we saw the lion and her cubs the day before to find one of the cubs playing with a stick, like a dog. We have a full day of great viewing: zebra, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, foxes and jackals. We even spot some hyrax and dik-diks.

As we consider starting to head back to camp for the evening, Standford gets a call on the radio that there’s a leopard nearby. We hightail it over to the spot and get there just in time to watch it pounce on a juvenile zebra and wrestle it to the ground.

We’re completely astounded and watch in awe as the leopard waits, his jaw around the zebra’s neck, for the zebra to die. I start to tear up a bit; I’m just amazed at what we’re watching.

Once the zebra has died, the leopard begins to drag it away. Standford tells us she’s likely heading for a nearby tree, as they drag their kill into the trees to make it harder for other predators and scavengers to steal. As she begins to haul the zebra away, we hear a horrible braying cry behind us. The mother zebra has just seen that her offspring is in the leopard’s clutches. I start to cry hard; I can’t help it. A moment ago I was elated that the leopard got her kill. Now, I watch as the mother zebra backs the leopard off and tries to pick the juvenile up by her mane as if to wake her up. It’s heartbreaking. I take a video to capture the cry but when we play it back later, all you hear is excited Swahili coming from the radio and me sobbing.

We continue to watch. Several more land cruisers have pulled up now and are watching the action unfold. The mother zebra eventually gives up, drawn away by other zebras. The leopard, who was just a few feet away, creeps in and starts dragging her kill again.

Everyone must be back at camp at sundown, and it’s nearly dark, so we reluctantly head back to camp. Stanford, our veteran guide, tells us we all just watched something very few get to see in its entirety. He asks us to send him our photos and video.

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