After leaving Chem Chem, we took a bush plane to the Serengeti. I remember looking out the tiny window as the lush landscape of the jungle gave way to open plains. Out on the Serengeti, we marvelled at everything from lions devouring their prey, to hyenas feeding their young. We saw elephants, buffalo, leopards, and a rhino in the distance who completed our “big five.” But it wasn’t until we made our way through tall grasses on our last game drive that we saw her striking body appear, directly in front of us.
She was so close that I could see the definition of the muscles in her legs, the patterning of spots in her fur. She looked like she was stalking prey—an impala, perhaps. For nearly an hour, we watched the cheetah as she moved, crouching into grass that swallowed her in camouflage.
I watched in a trance. Eight days earlier, I had been anxiously hurtling through the air, but with her, I was at peace. Nothing else mattered but the moment I was in, the planet I was on, and the creatures I was on it with.
As we waited in the lodge for our flight home, we were handed gift bags. Hidden inside each was a framed photo, taken by the woman who had arranged the insulin delivery. It was an image that would end up on each of our walls and countertops: our family in our safari hats on the first day, gathered together in relief and excitement—before we had joined a pack of giraffes running at sunset, before we had marvelled at the star-scape above Lake Manyara, and before we had spent an hour appreciating the cheetah that had appeared, unanticipated, right before our eyes.
We had no idea that she had taken the photo. Just one of the many surprises in Micato’s Africa!