The baby impala doesn’t stand a chance. Young as it is, it doesn’t sense the hyena bearing down on it until it is too late. Once it clocks the danger, it puts on an impressive spurt of speed, but too late. An inconvenient stand of trees means we miss the moment when the hyena seizes the young antelope; in the few minutes it takes our guide to manoeuvre the four-wheel drive around the trees, the hyena has already devoured the impala’s head. As we watch, it makes short work of the rest of the small body. Ten minutes later, all that is left is a length of sinew, and a telltale ring of blood on the hyena’s face.
Nothing takes you out of your comfort zone as quickly as an African safari. This is life, uncensored: a daily fight for survival, where the heart-warming moments—a clutch of young warthogs gambolling with their mothers, say—are balanced by gruesome sights such as a pride of lions tearing apart a freshly-slaughtered wildebeest. Every day on safari brings an encounter with the unexpected, and a reminder that while the business world can be brutal, it has nothing on life in the wild.
Few places in Africa offer such superb wildlife viewing as the Okavango Delta. The delta’s abundant water—it surges down from Angola, moving at an incredible rate of 1,200 kilometres a month between March and June—makes the Okavango an oasis for wildlife, home to an astounding 122 species of mammal and 400 species of birds.
The crowd favourites, the big cats, are seen here in profusion. One morning, we come across a pride of 17 lions sheltering from the fierce heat of the sun. Although they do no more than cast a lazy glance in our direction, from just metres away we can see every detail of their immensely powerful bodies, and imagine how quickly they could take us down if they wanted to. We experience the shivery feeling that comes from realising you are no longer the top of the food chain. It is not the last time we will feel this way.
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