Paula Gilhooley…..Cheetah in KNP and the Kalahari

Although not one of the BIG 5 Cheetah is one of the most exciting  of the African cats you can hope to view.  They are very sleek and streamlined and are found in small numbers in both Kruger National Park and the Kalahari Park in South Africa.

Unlike the other big cats, Lions and Leopards, Cheetah tend to hunt early in the morning or mid day as they have a better chance of keeping their catch if not challenged by the larger cats that te037nd to hunt at night and sleep during the day.  Cheetah rely on their speed in catching their prey and can reach speeds of over 110 kilometers an hour for short distances. During the hunt the Cheetah stalks itIMG_4632s prey as close as possible before sprinting in for the kill.  Small antelope tend to be the favorite prey of Cheetah but can include hares, young jackals, and warthogs.

Cheetah can have up to four cubs in a liter and the cubs stay with their mother for a full year learning hunting and survival skills.  Cheetah rarely fight but can hunted by both lions, hyenas and leopards.  In the Kalahari I was privileged to see a female Cheetah and her four nearly grown cubs as well as a Cheetah with a kill up close and several mother cheetah with smaller cubs from a distance.  In Kruger National Park I have seen a pair of brothers off H10 and a mother with larger cubs off of s28.  Due to their small numbers it is always exciting to be able to see Cheetah on a game drive.IMG_6224

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