At the end of a hot Lowveld afternoon, we’re enjoying a slow drive along the Shingwedzi River, as has become our habit every time our visits to Shingwedzi Rest Camp come to an end. This route, the gravel S50, is our absolute favourite road in the Kruger National Park and we’re taking in as much of the magical wilderness atmosphere as we can. After enjoying snacks and a cold drink in deep, cool, shade next to the Tshilonde waterhole, it’s time to head back towards camp.
Only minutes later, turning a corner near the Ntsumaneni Spruit crossing, we spy a feline shape next to the road… We’re thrilled to find two cheetahs waiting by the roadside, and our excitement grows tenfold as a third, fourth and then fifth make their way out of the mopane bushes towards us. With no other cars around, we find ourselves in the company of what we assume is a female with her four almost fully-grown cubs, a rare sighting indeed. The cheetahs seem nervous, constantly staring back towards the vegetation they emerged from, and do not hang around very long before crossing the road and heading into the bush again, disappearing from sight. We may have spent only a few minutes with these lithe cats, but it is another Kruger memory we’ll cherish for as long as we live.
(You may click on any of the images to view them in bigger resolution)
The Endangered Wildlife Trust in conjunction with the SANParks Honorary Rangers, is conducting a census of Kruger Park’s cheetahs and wild dogs, and inviting visitors to contribute to the project by submitting photos of these species they encounter between September 2014 and June 2015. Of course, we’ve already sent in our submission!