Dusk was falling in the Kitirua Conservancy on the edge of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. A flat expanse of powdery earth and parched grass stretched before us, dotted with clumps of desert date and umbrella-thorn acacia trees. Beyond, Kilimanjaro’s icy summit peeked out from behind wisps of peach-hued cloud.
It had been a quiet game drive so far, when suddenly the peace was broken by our guide Jonathan’s excited whisper: “Look, a cheetah!” There she crouched, golden and regal in the evening sunlight, with her eyes fixed straight ahead. “Hunting,” he said. “And her cubs are in there.” We noticed the mother glancing over to where they were hidden in a nearby Azima tetracantha (or ‘bee sting bush’).