Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Well,  I'm going to try this again. I was right in the middle of writing today's blog and a very mischievous baby baboon called Ollie jumped on my keyboard and turned off my computer. This is a problem most people don't.

What I was starting to write about was my truly amazing, almost magical night I had last night. Cornelia and I were given the opportunity to spend the night at the dam house out in the Life Line area.

Those of you who have followed my experiences at Harnas know about Pride--the cheetah whom I slept out with one night and the reason I have a cheetah paw tattoo on the inside of my inner arm. Well, she was injured recently chasing a warthog--got ripped in the chest--and so she and her two cubs (who are fully grown now but still living with her) are behind the fence at the dam house, recovering. One of her cubs, Denga, is also injured and recovering from an infected tooth. So the three of them were inside the yard, and Cornelia and I were inside with them.

The dam house is a real house with 5-6 bunks, a kitchen, bathroom, and a wonderful roof. There's a spiral staircase that goes up there and once there, you have a 360 degree view of the surrounding area, including a waterhole where all kinds of critters come to drink.

We arrived around 5:30 and sat in the yard with the cheetahs, having a glass of wine while they ate their meat. Pride is still extremely tame and let me wrap my arms around her. Her cubs are NOT tame and will only let us get about 4 feet away before they hiss. Then something wonderful happened: just at sunset, the cheetahs all stood up and looked in the same direction. Out of the sunset walk two other cheetahs--it was Max and Moritz, who also live in the Lifeline and who Cornelia knows from when they were little newborns, sleeping in her bed. We had been told they were 8 km. away, but somehow they decided to visit us. They walked along the fence and Cornelia was able to reach through and pet her babies. What a treat. Our three cheetahs know them and there was no hissing or growling. They all get along.

Derek brought dinner to us around 8:30 and we ate on the roof. There was a full moon and the savannah was so bright there were distinct shadows. We ate, drank more wine, talked, watched the animals and a pretty much perfect night.

Eventually we went downstairs to sleep and I slept the best night since I got here. At sunrise we were on the roof again, watching honey badgers, jackals, and a herd of wildebeest come to the waterhole.Then about 8:30 they came to pick us up. What a perfect and magical night. One I'll never forget

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