The wind blew through my hair as the open top jeep crested the top of the crater it was then we got our first glance inside the huge 100 square miles large conservation area and one of the greatest safaris on earth. 

The open top jeep continued on down a winding dirt road into this vast animal kingdom. Onwards we drove passing herds of zebra strut their stripes across the planes, gazelles galloped gallantly, and wildebeest run wildly. The sky is blue and the Tanzanian sun hot, our safari driver has kindly packed the fridge in the back of the jeep full of beer and as the we watch the animals we sit on the roof sipping our beer while other jeep pass us filled with people watching this paradise of beauty through lenses and phone screens rather than admiring it with their own eyes just so they can get fill their instagram and facebook full of pictures to be liked by strangers who they barely even know these wanabe Attenborough’s.

Sometimes in this modern world of ours where everything is available in an instant and people rush from one selfie to the next they forget to sit and crack a beer, light a cigarette and really enjoy what is in front of them. The way the green trees sway in the gentle wind and the branches bounce as monkeys swing, jump and bounce from one to the other. How the clouds collide with the craters top ridge and looks like waterfall of white that encircles us completely creating the illusion of us been in a magical paradise completely cut off from the world. The sound of baboons barking and squealing, the splashing of water as hippos roll and dive into the murky lakes, Hyenas laugh in the distance to joke only they know, a thousand tweets, whistles and churp’s of birds scattered across the trees and sky, Natures orchestra plays a song a billion times more beautiful than constant clicks, snaps and shutters of cameras if only you pause to listen.

The problem with viewing life through a camera is you miss wider perspective and then you miss the extraordinary events that you only catch in the periphery of your vision. The yellow and orange grass sways gently in the wind. We are the only jeep for miles ahead of us a little herd of gazelle are grazing; it’s a peaceful spot away from the crowds of other tourists. In corner of my vision I see the wind pick up the grasses swaying with greater force and yet the wind only gently kisses my face. We watch as this force of nature moves steadily towards the peaceful family of gazelle and what was a gentle stealthy breeze becomes a howling hurricane made of teeth, claws and hunger. The gazelle flee as if they are sprinters at the start line only they run not for gold but for survival but what they run from are queens in this land of grass and trees. Death crashed down like a tsunami upon the small straggler struggling at the back. In dangled lifeless in the jaws of this huntress. Golden fur, teeth like spears, claws like swords. The lioness paraded in front of us so close I could see her spots. She was magnificent. Beautiful and deadly. She was so close I could reach out my arm and pet her. To be so close to death set my heart racing a thumping pounding beat rarely felt. I’m a giddy teenage again locking eyes with the prettiest girl in school, I’m buying beer underage my friends waiting outside, I’m holding the national title while crowds cheer me on, I’ve summated my first mountain, conquered my first desert, as I look into her feline eyes I’m all these things and more. My heart racing as I meet this Queen of the Serengeti I can’t take my eyes off her. SNAP. A photo is taken and spell is broken and she wonders off back into the yellow grass where she disappears from my sight forever.

Written by Jonny Fairclough.           

Published by C&J Active