To those fellow rangers out there, we all know that being a guide can be fun and exciting but at the same time can be a serious pressure. First and foremost the pressure of working with animals that are potentially very dangerous while people lives are in your hands can make a ranger snap. One wrong move from a ranger can put many people in serious trouble. We permanently have to be alert and vigilant regarding the animal’s movements and behavioral changes. Also very often you get guests who visit various nature reserves around the world on a regular basis and the pressure to compete with world class rangers can be tough.
It was one of those mornings. My South African, French and Spanish guests were on their last drive before checking out and leaving Kapama. They had requested “The best game drive ever!” I was suddenly placed under pressure to fulfill their request and make their stay at Kapama River Lodge one to remember. I had no idea where I was going to begin. As I drove from the lodge I began to plan my drive and exactly what I was going to focus my attention on. On exiting the lodge I was lucky enough to find that the cheetahs had crossed the road not to long ago and we began our tracking. It took us about an hour and a half to finally locate them in which time we had been blessed with many sightings of beautiful birds, insects and close ups of most of our plains game. The pressure managed to ease. As we watched the cheetah, we noticed a very sudden behaviour change. They suddenly seemed focused and concentrated, ears perked up and eyes fixed in one direction. Nearby was a large herd of Impala oblivious to their presence heading their way. They started to stalk, sneaking off in opposite directions to surround the herd. The silent communication between these two cheetahs was exhilarating to witness. It was a very short stalk as three minutes later they sprang into action and started to chase the Impala. We watched in awe as the chaos unfolded in front of us. The apparent communication between the two could not have been too well planned as suddenly both cheetahs each stood clutching their own Impala between their jaws. Whether this was planned or pure chance we’ll never know. My guests were over the moon to say the least and truly believed that had had the ‘best game drive ever’.
At the end of the day, all dreams became reality. My guests were satisfied with their African safari experience and the pressure on me was lifted. What a day in Africa.
Tinyiko – Kapama River Lodge