The Cheetah family en route to Shingwedzi
I spent three days inside Kruger National Park and on the first day I had the luck to stumbled onto a Cheetah family at a kill. This was my first meeting with this feline in the wild and it surely was a dream come true for me.
I left Zane Engelbrecht at the airport in Hoedspruit in the morning as he was picking up his rental car to go to Johannesburg to fly back to Europe. I was instead heading back towards the wild and this time I was going back to Kruger National Park where it all began five years ago.
I entered the park at Phalaborwa gate and travelled northwards towards Shingwedzi Rest Camp. My aim was to make this trip on a couple of gravel roads, but I ended up on the completely wrong road. the S50 that moves north along the Mocambique border.
S50 was a little bumpy, but the Hyundai i20 handle the road almost like a Paris-Dakar rally car. I stopped at the few water holes I found, but I didn’t see many animals. I wasn’t really surprised as I did most of this trip during the heat of the day and there wasn’t much shade to find for bigger animals. I had only seen one Elephant until I meet a huge bull Elephant that made me understand how small my car was. I gave the gentleman the right of passage before I continued.
The road was now flanked by big trees as I was getting nearer to water and I started to see more and more animals. I came upon a huge troop of Chacma Baboons that I followed for some time before I decided to move on. Next stop for me was when I saw a nice looking Bateleur sitting in the top of a dead tree. Of course I had to stop and take some pictures as this is one of my favorite Eagles in Africa.
I switched off the engine to lessen the vibrations and now realized that I had stopped just in front of a Cheetah family. I am almost certain I would have missed them if it wasn’t for the Bateleur, a good indicator for predators, as all of the five Cheetahs where feeding from a newly killed Impala.
I started to take photos of the Bateleur as I didn’t know if it would take off because of my presence before I switched focus to the Cheetah family.
They were eating silently and from time to time one or two of them sat up keeping an eye on the surrounding bush. The bush was thick and a bigger predator could easily be nearby if they had heard the kill. Even the Chacma Baboon troop that was moving in this direction could case them away just by their sheer numbers so I understand why the Cheetahs were eating in a hurry.
I stayed with the Cheetah family until they decided to leave the kill. I am not sure what spooked them as I had to leave to be able to arrive on time at Shingwedzi Rest Camp.
I took time to make two videos during my time with the Cheetahs and you can watch them here.
Beware that these videos are messy as they show the Cheetahs eating.