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Pole to Pole

Day 99: The Masai Mara to Seronera

Michael Palin - Pole to PoleI have a feeling it will be worn in very quickly as we venture into rarely visited territory to complete the last thousand miles of our sweeping detour round southern Sudan.

Animal-spotting is every bit as obsessive as train-spotting and one of the gaps in my book is filled after little more than half an hour's driving when we catch our first sight of a cheetah. It's a solitary animal but its presence has a magnetic effect on the supporting cast. Thomson's gazelle grazing nearby freeze in mid-mastication. Impala heads turn and stare as if hypnotized. There is very little point in trying to run away from an animal whose 'maximum speed in emergency' can, according to my book, 'reach 110 k.p.h.'. The cheetah looks made for speed. Its head is small, body long and powerful, legs lean and slender. Cheetahs stalk their prey with infinite care and patience, moving to within a hundred yards before attacking. The suspense is so sustained, the build-up so painstakingly slow, that in the fifteen minutes we are there nothing moves except eyeballs.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 99
  • Country/sea: Kenya
  • Place: Mara River
  • Book page no: 219

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  • Wildlife-watching
  • Day 49 
  • Sahara

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