See if you can spot the female Cheetah in this photograph. We spotted her on the 15th of December a few kilometers south of Satara. With her were two cubs; they were even more difficult to see. This was the first of 5 Cheetah sightings during our December 2021 visit to the Kruger National Park.
Four days later we had a decent enough sighting of a group of four young Cheetahs hunting close to Nwanetsi. They didn’t stick around for photos very long though before their fleeing prey forced them to follow deeper into the bush.
Our next Cheetah sighting, on Christmas Eve, was another very challenging one. While this individual lay perfectly out in the open about 150m from the road that spotted pelt is excellent camouflage.
On Boxing Day, late afternoon while heading back to camp along the H6 road, we found two Cheetah brothers sitting in the rain intently staring into the distance. Just what they were looking at we never figured out as we eventually had to depart in order not to be locked out of camp.
Our next and final Cheetah sighting was also in pouring rain on the 31st of December, this time along the S37 road leading to Tshokwane from Nwanetsi; a group made up of a female with 4 fairly large cubs who would take turns to sit up in the rain and keep a watchful eye while the others kept their eyes shut against the pelting drops.
The Cheetah is endangered, not only in South Africa but across the whole continent, where its range has been drastically diminished. South Africa is home to at least 1,100 of these beautiful animals, with about 370 living in Kruger National Park and adjacent reserves. For us to have seen five different groups during our 3 week visit to the Park was extremely lucky! The Endangered Wildlife Trust is again calling on citizen scientists to submit photos of Cheetahs (and Wild Dogs) taken during visits to the Kruger Park to their 5th Cheetah Census, and while Joubert and I didn’t really get useful images on this trip we hope we can encourage other visitors with more luck to participate in this important project.