What a sighting! – The three young Cheetahs with a baby Impala.

On the morning of the 8 December, our guides and guests were treated to a rare sighting.

Field guide Tarryn Rae wrote about the sighting:

I was taking guests out on a morning game drive at 8am… a little later then our usual 5.30am drives. I heard over the radio that there was a sighting of three juvenile cheetahs near the centre of the reserve. I decided that the route plan would be to make our way there and maybe we would be lucky. We took our time as it was my guests first time on a game drive and in South Africa which makes everything one sees exciting. I didn’t tell them about the sighting as I didn’t want to get their hopes up if we didn’t get to see them. I later heard an update that they had caught a baby impala and were feeding but in think bush so the view was no longer good. I still made my way there as it had been cool rainy weather the last couple of days and I thought they might come out into the sunshine again. Also with cheetah being Diurnal (active during the day) it was more likely to see them this time of day then their bigger nocturnal cousins. About an hour after they had had their breakfast we arrived at the sighting. I was so chuffed to see them lazing around in the sun with their full tummies. I got my camera out to take some photos of them. One suddenly sat up and went into a crouching posture I said to my guests “He sees something” and looked around. There was a baby Impala all alone wondering into the open area where the cheetah were. I thought it might have been one that got separated in the earlier chase. He had no idea what danger lay ahead. The cheetah got up and run full speed from about 100m away. The baby impala ran across the road and we lost visual of them. The other two cheetah at this point followed at a less fast pace as if not wanting to miss out but to full to move. I was lucky enough to be facing the right way and we drove ahead to see if we could see what the outcome was… in the favour of the Cheetah or the Impala. The photos of them next to the road with their prize is what we came across. The cheetah carried it across the road, with its siblings close behind and went back to the area where they had been resting. I thought the Impala was dead as the cheetah had had it by the neck which is usually how they suffocate their prey. When I realized the Impala was still alive is when I decided to grab my video camera. The video shows how the poor little impala tried constantly to get away but just as a moving object gets a domestic cats attention the cheetah would react. They would knock it down again and it would try again at one point even trying to jump into an Acacia tree. Eventually the little guy saw a gap and made a run for it. It managed to go back across the road and into a thick bushy area with the cheetahs hot on its hooves. Due to the bush being so think we couldn’t see them again and they didn’t come out, which makes me think the outcome wasn’t in the Impalas favour.

At first, they were just relaxing in the morning sun.

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Highlights from December 2017

Every Game drive in the Pilanesberg is different, as guides we drive through the gate and never know exactly what is going to happen. This all adds to the excitement as we head out on a game drive.

December has been a busy month, as one would expect it to be. The baby season is in full swing and the Pilanesberg National Park is looking as green as ever. The babies are everywhere which is what we love to see this time of year. Here are some highlights from the festive season…

Female Cheetah Rain and her current three cubs

It has been amazing to see how fast the cheetah cubs have grown and how they are developing into the little hunters they were born to be, thanx to moms guidance of course.

The youngsters were born around May 2016 and were first seen in July 2016 at around 8/10 weeks old. There were originally 4 cubs but unfortunately one didn’t make it. Rain being able to raise the three remaining cubs successfully thus far is a great accomplishment.

I have just been through some photos from last year July and now photos of them this year July and man have they grown!

Then – Photos from July 2016

Now – Photos taken July 2017

Female cheetah “Rain” makes front page news

On Sunday the 6 November Field guide Greg Esterhuysen picked up his camera just in time to get some amazing photos of Rain taking down an Impala.

The Impala put up quite a fight with dust flying everywhere, however Rain knew what she was doing and manged to keep hold of her prey.

Once the Impala was down her three cubs came in to “help” and share the meal with their mom. The photos were a great hit on our Facebook page with over sixteen thousand people being in awe of the power of this amazing cat. Two days later Rain had made front page news. 

This was truly one of those right place right time moments. We are so glad that Rain and her cubs are doing so well and look forward to sharing the rest of their journey with them.

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