The spotted cats of Africa are a highlight of any safari, and much sought after. We received news that the tracks of a pair of male cheetah had been found within the Selinda concession further north, and we headed off to follow their spoor, and hopefully, locate them. With help from another game viewing vehicle, our search was very brief, as they had found the pair drinking from a small pool of groundwater. We arrived just in time to catch them on their last few sips before they retreated into the relatively thick surrounding bush.

We followed the pair at a respectful distance as they moved between vantage points. This use of height is typical behaviour, key to spotting prey and vital for keeping a look out for threats posed by other predators – especially lions, their biggest enemy. After a while their body language altered, making it clear that they’d spotted something. A small herd of impala grazed just fifty metres away, unaware of the cheetah, who remained motionless with their eyes fixed on the antelope. We waited patiently for the outcome. Suddenly, one impala caught sight of the cheetah and snorted loudly – this nasal alarm call alerted the others to the presence of danger. It also signaled the end of the hunt, as the predators had lost their element of surprise.

With their cover blown, the cheetah continued through the islands and thickets until they found a good place to rest. We left them stretched out in the grass, occasionally lifting their heads and scanning from side to side. It’s a privilege indeed to see these magnificent cats in the wild, and upon our return to the lodge we heard an update from across the concession that they had recently found the cheetah’s tracks skirting around camp. Piecing together these bits of info, we could see that they had been walking during the heat of the day in search of food, following the edge of the Savuti Channel east towards the Savuti Marsh.