Duchess before she had a top, being driven by the Princess of Panna in the Serengeti!
Duchess, our old faithful Toyota Landcruiser 4×4 especially designed by us for safaris was a free spirited lady, strong of character and frame and sexy in her curves. She was an able friend and would never let us down in times of need. Be it was charging elephants or snarling lions she stood her ground with contemptuous ease.
She was the very first safari vehicle that we had purchased and needless to say both Ally Kea and I were desperately in love with her and spent more on her than we did on our respective wife’s. She repaid our confidence with every kilometer that she ate up with ease. She did creak a bit at times but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.
She was the talk of town. She turned heads and people looked at us with envy, every time that we drove into the endless plains of the Serengeti. Elephant herds would part with respect and buffaloes would snort their praise and she well enjoyed their complements.
Till one time, in the short grass plains of southern Serengeti, we came across this leopard on a rain soaked evening, with puddles galore and the colors of the rainbow reflecting the sun on every grass blade till as far as they eye could see. Shaaz and I were out with a few guests and we marveled at the sheer beauty of the feline as it climbed and descended the umbrella thorn tree a few yards from us. Close to us was a close top research car and suddenly without warning, the leopard jumped onto the bonnet, even as the researcher desperately tried to wind up his windows. The feline was only trying to get a better look over the tall swaying grass and calmly walked onto the hood of the vehicle and sat down. This is when Duchess lost her nerve and decided to scoot. She drove us straight back to camp in terror and insisted on getting home to Arusha. She was terrified and would not be placated till a solid top was welded on. It makes me complete she whispered.
She is back in the Serengeti now with a solid hood. She still rules the Serengeti and elephants and buffalo still bow to her as she flows past. When you come and spend time with us this season in Ndutu, we will try and find the leopard that drove our Duchess to get a top. Till then stay safe. Take care.