Shenton Safaris

A close encounter with a wild cheetah

Written by: Bobby-Jo Clow Photography

I was on safari in the Seronera area of the Serengeti when I came across a mother cheetah and her two juvenile offspring. All of a sudden the two juvenile cheetah started coming towards the safari vehicle that I was in. One of the cats walked straight past the driver’s door and then loitered around the front of the vehicle. The driver and fantastic safari guide, Exaud Marandu, turned to me and told me that the cheetah was possibly going to jump on to the bonnet of the land rover.

I had my 70-200mm lens on at the time so I quickly changed to my 10-22mm wide angle lens. As I positioned and focused the lens on to the car bonnet the cheetah popped up! I hit the shutter like a mad woman. I was so unbelievably excited that my hands were shaking. The cheetah then ducked down and peered through the windscreen, like it was trying to see who else was in the car. Then the cheetah jumped again, this time on to the roof.

The young male then started to relax and made himself quite at home. He rested his front paws through the car roof, they were actually dangling in front of my face. At one point he put his whole head into the car and smelt my head. The cheetah stayed there for another five minutes before his mother started to call to him. He then jumped off our car and headed back to his family.  

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