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Large rock python just over 5m long swallowing an adult Thomson’s Gazelle

As we were driving down to the River we spotted something that looked like 2 shiny round tyres in the distance. I didn’t think too much of it but Lenkume appeared quite excited and we went to investigate.

It was incredible. The size and power of the snake was most impressive, I was very pleased that it had the gazelle half way down and so appeared uninterested in us. We watched the snake for about 25 minutes as it slowly swallowed the gazelle gently unwrapping its coils as peristaltic waves moved up and down its body as it drew the gazelle in. In the sunlight next to the water the Python’s skin looked like spun gold.

I was stunned by just how beautiful it was, if not a little terrifying! A kill of this size would probably keep the python going for 8 months to a year – so with so few feeding occasions and the fact that they are shy creatures it was a small miracle that we got to see this event. Once it had completely swallowed the gazelle it uncoiled itself and slid sinuously into the water where it rolled and swayed in an effort to move the gazelle further down its body. It wasn’t until that moment that we appreciated just how long it was.

I think that moments like this made me realize just how lucky we were to be staying in smaller private camps where you had more freedom and flexibility to seize the moment. The whole point of going on safari is not only to get to see the wildlife but have the opportunity to spend time with it when something special occurs and hopefully learn to understand it a little bit more. Good guides are essential for this and it’s even better when at the end of a long exciting day you can come back to a luxurious camp with good food and hot water!

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