Travel & conservation company, since 1991
See how we earn 5 starsTrustpilot - 5 stars
Africa Geographic Travel

Armed with a spotter plane and a LandRover in hot pursuit, wildlife artist Guy Coombes searched for the elusive spotless cheetah.

“I was told about this incredible ‘morph’ phenomenon that has not been seen for over 90 years. The last one recorded was shot in Tanzania in 1921. ‘Morph’ means a genetic colour variation; the most well-known being the ‘king’ cheetah, specimens of which have only occurred in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Mughal Emperor of India recorded having a white cheetah presented to him in 1608, saying that the spots were blue in colour and the whiteness of the body also inclined to blue-ishness. There are also reported cases of melanism or albinism, but the latter does not apply to this spotless cheetah. The only reported cases of this morph, which scientists believe is a recessive gene like the king cheetah, have been in East Africa from the subspecies, acynonix jubatus raineyii.” – excerpt from Guy Coombes’ account with a ‘morph’ cheetah

spotless cheetah
spotless cheetah

Photos © Guy Coombes

Guy Coombes photographed this rare ‘morph’ cheetah in the Athi-Kapiti area of south­ern Kenya over a year ago.

Cheetahs are the fastest land mammals, with documented speeds up to 115 km/hour in captivity and 93 km/hour in the wild, but they cannot maintain such speeds for more than a few hundred metres. By comparison, sprinter Usain Bolt hits a top speed of 45 km/hour over a maximum of 100 metres.
They are found in a wide range of habitats, from dry forest and thick scrub to savannah grassland and arid deserts. Read more about cheetahs here.

To comment on this story: Login (or sign up) to our app here - it's a troll-free safe place 🙂.


  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Browse our famous packages for experience-based safaris, search for our current special offers and check out our camps & lodges for the best prices.

    Enquire now

  • Subscribe to our FREE newsletter / download our FREE app to enjoy the following benefits.

AG Logo

I’m Holly - born and raised in the rural British Counties, my mother began life on a sugar farm in Zululand. After reading Anthropology at university in London, working for a political activist filmmaker in India, and doing a short stint under the bright lights of Bollywood – I decided it was time to return to the motherland. To earn a crust in the name of wanderlust, I finished up a post grad in media and hotfooted around South Africa as a freelance travel journalist.

Africa Geographic Travel
[wpforms id="152903"]
<div class="wpforms-container wpforms-container-full" id="wpforms-152903"><form id="wpforms-form-152903" class="wpforms-validate wpforms-form wpforms-ajax-form" data-formid="152903" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data" action="/stories/spotless-cheetah-sighted-in-kenya/" data-token="01ecf159db86e4463a6af771058be816"><noscript class="wpforms-error-noscript">Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.</noscript><div class="wpforms-field-container"><div id="wpforms-152903-field_1-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-email" data-field-id="1"><label class="wpforms-field-label wpforms-label-hide" for="wpforms-152903-field_1">Email Address <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="email" id="wpforms-152903-field_1" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][1]" placeholder="Email " required></div></div><div class="wpforms-submit-container"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[id]" value="152903"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[author]" value="10"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[post_id]" value="7531"><button type="submit" name="wpforms[submit]" id="wpforms-submit-152903" class="wpforms-submit" data-alt-text="Sending..." data-submit-text="Subscribe" aria-live="assertive" value="wpforms-submit">Subscribe</button><img src="" class="wpforms-submit-spinner" style="display: none;" width="26" height="26" alt="Loading"></div></form></div> <!-- .wpforms-container -->