Privilege to walk wild side
From basking in the pride of glorious predators to the awe-inspiring first steps of a newborn gazelle, Nicole Manktelow finds life is thrilling on safari
SHE just seemed to appear. A gentle, noble face suddenly discernible against the stunning backdrop.
The slender neck blended into rows of gold on gold – the colours of the Serengeti.
A Grant’s gazelle was looking right at us, just metres from the track, picture perfect and impossible to resist. I snapped the shutter as we took the bend. What happened next may be my most treasured memory of Africa. As the gazelle stood up, there was something grey, something that just fell away, something with ears.
The vehicle came to a halt as all aboard gasped. There was an unwieldy, wobbly, impossible shape in the grass. It was a foal – tiny and utterly adorable. We stared at the newborn in awe. As it took its first breath, we began holding ours.
A mother gazelle must make her baby walk before it can suckle. With hearts in mouths and fingers crossed, we watched for exactly 19 anxious minutes as the youngster faced its very first battle for survival, just finding its legs.
Right there, with every unsteady step and stumble, the risk of predators never very far, was the stuff of life and death – utterly mesmerising.
It was an incredible moment on a day that was already extraordinary. That morning