One of the best photographs I’ve ever taken was of a cheetah. I was in Namibia, sitting in the sand a couple metres away from a coalition of three cheetah brothers (yup, that’s what a group of cheetahs it called).
The cheetahs had been orphaned as tiny cubs. The Africat Foundation rescued them and taught them how to hunt. A few times a week, rangers go out into the Okonjima Game Reserve to check on them to makes sure they’re successfully hunting and eating. Tourists like me can come along for the ride.
After tracking them through the huge reserve in our jeep, we walked through the bushes the last few hundred metres to find them. They were lying in the sand, resting after a sprint chasing baboons. Cheetahs have to rest to cool down their bodies after they run, of they’ll overheat and die. So we were safe for about 15 minutes.
It’s very strange sitting in front of three carnivorous wild animals. Very strange. I was as silent as I could possibly be and made no sudden movements. For some bizarre reason, though, a guy behind me thought it made sense to move closer to the cheetahs for a better photo. When he moved the cheetah instantly went from resting cute kitten to alert predator. And the adrenaline surged through every fibre of my being.
Want to know more about cheetahs? Here are my two most recent pieces for Reader’s Digest:
- How many cheetahs are left in the world?
- 14 amazing photos of cheetahs in the wild (page 1) and page 2.
And there’s more on my Namibia page.