Twala wrinkles his Maasai nose mid-morning: ‘ it’s too hot’ he murmurs, almost as if he can smell the heat. The short grass bakes under a searing equatorial sun and the mercury nudges 30. It is too hot and moments later the first distant cumulus morphs on the horizon indicating potential drama that afternoon.
Around five Mika, Johnson and Twala sit poised, minutes from Valley camp, optics trained on a leopard picking her way through the thick croton, her eyes zeroed on a male impala. Behind her, the promised convection thunderheads are building with frightening intensity.
One or two vehicles turned for home. Error. Huge. The plains are an impossible green, keen to slake their thirst from the impending downpour.
The next half hour is intoxicating: the leopard continues her quest, the sky is now disembowelled by the violent storm and rain thrashes the land cruisers from all angles. With metres to go the leopard twitches and is spotted and the Toyota’s nose is then finally turned away from the squall towards some topi.
Somehow Twala then spots a hunting cheetah which finally loses its chase to its clove-footed adversary yet continues its hunt towards some distant impala.
With minutes till game over, the sun peers through the anvil nimbus and the plains are painted gold with a rainbow’s arc bisecting the eastern gloom. It is exhilarating, mesmerising and thrilling.
Somehow this quietly spoken guide found the leopard, positioned for the cheetah and rainbow whilst in grade three white water. He is yet another Kicheche sorcerer and last thursday an amphibious one… when you enter his vehicle you enter the Twala zone.