"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on January 22, 2018 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

A free Sunday morning, both Paul & I awake well before sunrise, and a nature reserve that opens at 5.30am. The combination was a no-brainer. Cameras and long lenses were packed, the cooler box filled with snacks, juice and water and we headed to Rietvlei – yes, again – I was determined to find the cheetah! 

We had been told of another group of cheetah consisting of a                                                                                                                    female with 5 or 6 very small cubs and were determined to find them, so after a quick pit stop, we went in search of the elusive cats, after being told by another driver which direction they were headed in. We struck gold – gold fur that is. Resting under the cool shade of a tree was mom and 5 little ones. During their first months, cheetah cubs have a long, fluffy mane on the head and neck, which is part of their camouflage as, when they lay flat; the mane looks like long blades of grass from afar. After a time, the cubs got tired of just lying around and started playing tag chasing each other around the tree. 

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And find the cheetah we did. In the most unexpected of places……. up a tree! A herd of zebra had chased a female and

her 2 grown cubs up a large tree and were laying, on guard, in the shade under the tree! The cheetah paced up and down

the branches, swapping places and trying to sneak down, but every time they got close to the ground, the zebra stood up and stomped

their hooves. Eventually mom got tired of being bullied and jumped out the tree, racing up the hillside. The zebra gave chase and the cubs were able to make their way

down onto the ground. They slunk away in the grass heading in the direction their mother had gone. By now the zebra had given up the chase and returned to the shade of the tree. The female, yipping and yelping from the height of a fallen trunk not too far off, got her cubs attention and they sidled off. We soon lost sight of them so headed back to the main road and a pit stop.

Eventually the heat got the better of us and we headed home happy – after beginning to doubt the rumours, we had finally proven to ourselves that there are actually cheetah at Rietvlei Nature Reserve!

One adventurous baby climbed up the tree to escape its

rough & tumbling siblings, It really was fabulous to watch, and

we spent over 2 hours there, jostling with other cars to get a good view, as one vehicle

left, another quickly took its place; but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get all five of the little ones in the same photo! 

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One response to “Home again part 5 – finding the cheetah!”

  1. Cheryl Wilkinson says:

    Oh Wow! You have the luck and patience! Beautiful pics S!

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