Who said cheetahs can’t climb trees…

24 August 2019, Saturday

In a reserve dominated by lions, the cheetahs have taken a back seat for a short period of time. Our solitary male cheetah has become very wise to the movement of the much larger lions, keeping vast distances between his hunting grounds and theirs.

On special days when we do manage to find this animal, the excitement is almost pandemonium. Last week I was in the right place at the right time and stumbled across the cheetah male. With the pursuit taking place he soon vanished into the long grass and the relocation began.

While other vehicles circled the area, I rushed over to the spot where I thought he would come out. Everyone started losing hope but I knew if we could stay another few minutes we might be in luck.

Before the words rolled off my tongue, I saw movement in my rear-view mirror and the cheetah popped out just behind our vehicle. He walked past the vehicle, jumped into a tree and scanned the open plains for potential breakfast. It was an unbelievable experience with some extraordinary pictures to give you an idea of what we encountered that morning.

With the imminent release of a female cheetah to join the current solitary male, the possibility of cubs and a new generation, brings much excitement for the future of the reserve. We can now look forward to more sightings of these incredible, endangered animals and many more moments like these.

Jason Swart

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