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Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary

In May, the mornings in Taita Hills are cold; thick mists pour over the rolling green hills and hover above huge herds of buffalo. The long grasses hang heavy with dew drops, but the skies are clear, and the rising sun reveals the silhouette of Mount Kilimanjaro 120 kilometers to the west. The dew twinkles in the sunlight as it evaporates, the grass lifts its seed ladened stems upright like a peacock spreading its plumage, and the whole savannah turns a lavender pink.

As the sunrises, the grass deepens its purple hue, and the Tuscan red earth under it begins to bake. Flocks of hundreds of little red and yellow headed, seed-eating quelea birds dart between the trees like schools of sardines, tracked by the big yellow eyes of the Martial eagle, which seem to be full of moonlight.

The grass serves as both a haven for the hunted and a hide for the hunters. The grazers feast on the grass, and all look fit and energetic, melting into it to rest. However, the grass seems specially designed for the sleek cheetahs, just peaking at their shoulders, so they can slip through it unnoticed, yet also peak above it to scope the plains.