Guide to Big Cat Safaris: Cheetahs
Cheetahs are the speed merchants of Africa's grasslands.
The experience of seeing cheetahs in the wild
It’s often hard to predict where a cheetah might be, however they’ll often be spotted on a termite mound or simply in the middle of the grasslands they’re hunting on. You need to keep your distance, especially if they are hunting as it would be easy to cause them to abandon a hunt if you got too close. A hunt by a coalition is quite a spectacular and thrilling sight.
If you come across a mother, you’ll see that cubs are very playful, and up to about 3 months they have a kind of punk ruff of hair down their back.
Planning a cheetah safari
You can’t really plan a safari just to see cheetahs. It could easily end in disappointment if luck isn’t on your side. However, if you go to the places where there are good populations of cheetahs, and give yourself time, you stand a reasonably good chance of spotting one of these amazing cats. Here are just some of our suggestions.
Namibia has one of the largest cheetah populations in Africa. They mostly on rural farmlands as they fare better there than in game reserves where other big cats and predators are in close proximity, however most of us have no choice but to head for the reserves to try to see them.
One alternative option is going to Okonjima Reserve where the Africat Foundation looks after many rehabilitated cheetahs. You can track cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs here.
Suggested Places to Stay
The best time to see cheetahs
You can see cheetahs all year in Africa, and because they are diurnal, you’re more likely to see a cheetah hunt than either a lion or leopard. They prefer the early mornings and later afternoons.
Seeing a cheetah with her 2 cubs watching her on a kill which we witnessed from start to finish was unbelievable to watch.
The Tribes Foundation
Simply by booking with Tribes, you are making a difference. Every booking helps with The Tribes Foundation, the charity we back with admin and funds. Most clients give additional donations which we always put to very good use with one of the wildlife, environmental or social projects we support.
Conservation of cheetahs
As well as the usual threats of habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflict causing drastic drops in the cheetah population, cubs are also stolen for the exotic pet trade.
Another issue with these delicately-framed cats is that the larger, heavier cats and other predators such as hyenas tend to steal the cheetahs’ kills and often attack and kill them. It’s not easy being a cheetah.
Various charities aim to help big cats including cheetahs, with Cheetah Conservation Botswana being one.
12 days from £6350pp plus international flights.
Explore north Tanzania inc. northern Serengeti (perfect for migration around July-Oct), then lovely Mafia Island.
- Perfect safari to see the migration in Serengeti from July-October.
- Small luxury camps and lodges.
- Tarangire wildlife viewing is as it best from July to October.
- Excellent bird life and tree-climbing lions at Lake Manyara .
- 3 nights in a luxury camp in northern Serengeti.
- Migration, vast herds, possible river crossings.
- Far fewer people than over the border in the Masai Mara.
- 4 nights to relax on the unspoilt island of Mafia.
16 days from £3000pp plus international flights.
A classic introduction to Namibia from beach to desert and more inbetween.
- Self drive through the best of Namibia
- Culture, wildlife, scenery
- See the desert, the coast and mountains
- Wildlife viewing in renowned Etosha NP
- See the many faces of Namibia
7 days from £3200pp plus international flights.
A fantastic family safari adventure in Laikipia and the Masai Mara.
- Enjoy the safari as a family
- Plenty to keep the little ones entertained
- Game drives in Laikipia and the Masai Mara
- Child friendly menus
- Explore the private conservancies
Read more in our Tribes blog
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Little Governors Camp
… and not-so-sleepy cheetahs There are 4 Governors camps in the Masai Mara. We stayed at Little Governors, the only one on the west side of the Mara River, in the Mara Triangle.
How to describe Namibia?
What words can you use to describe a country so stunning that it leaves you speechless? Here are a few of my favourites that I keep coming back to when recounting my recent visit to beautiful Namibia.
Northern Serengeti in the Low Season
Sitting alone, a large, battle-scarred male with a chunk missing out of his top lip was trying to disassociate himself from the seven females and youngsters relaxing in the sunshine on the edge of a dry riverbed.