The highlight of a trip to southern Africa, needless to say, is definitely that of safari. We’ve always known some animals. As children they were the characters of our favorite cartoons or the soft toys with which we fell asleep in the evening. We then grew up and our stuffed playmates looked more real through the television screen. Hours and hours of documentaries have shown us all their faces, from the most aggressive when they procure food to the sweetest ones when they take care of their puppies. Here, as far as I’m concerned, all this has not yet prepared me enough for the emotion I felt when I actually met them, in their natural habitat, or at home. Specifically I will tell you about two different “houses”, Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana and the Etosha National Park in Namibia.
In the first park, me and the other traveling companions, we spent a whole day, experiencing very intense moments in which nature manifested itself without veils . At the Moremi Game Reserve it is not possible to enter by its own means, but climb up on the jeeps led by the park guard to go around the whole area. This aspect has a very positive side: none better than these guys knows these reserves and knows where to find the animals and which are the areas where you can meet the great predators that do not always reveal themselves with great pleasure. In fact, our meetings here have not been many, but certainly of great quality. Giraffes and zebras were the first to welcome us, as if they were the sentinels of the park. What unites them is the elegance and the proud movement among the undergrowth of the Savannah. While the former, however, love to enjoy moments of solitude and take the whole scene alone, the latter prefer to always move in a pack. Both the one and the other, are not disturbed by the noises and even less by our presence, a sign that, in this park, they feel protected and man is not a threat to them.
Arrival however to those that were the episodes that marked the day. The two jeeps on which our group was divided at some point have stopped and our two guides have started to wave to show us a shape moving behind the bushes. When this form was revealed, our breaths stopped and the reactions were varied: those who continued to take pictures with a confident burst of having finally the opportunity to take out the shot of the turn towards the celebrity, who has failed more to speak and those who are also moved. In front of us, a splendid example of a pregnant cheetah immobilized a newly caught impala in a tight gripand dragged him to the ground still alive and panting. This is the law of nature and we all know it, but it is undoubted that sometimes nature proves to be very hard, or rather, perhaps too harsh for those like us who are not accustomed to scenes of this kind. However, it will remain one of the symbolic images of our journey.
Still dismayed, we resume the journey inside the park and shortly after we find ourselves a few meters from the majestic king of the savannah lying under a huge tree . At his side, a huge carcass of buffalo with which the lion had satiated a few minutes before. The view was not the only sense affected by this scene, since the nose was, despite himself, another undisputed protagonist: an acrid smell has in fact enveloped us in a few minutes, so as to make the stay at that short distance a little difficult.