On Sunday morning we left Matembezi’s classic camp in Naabi Hill in the southern Serengeti on a morning game drive. And we found a beautiful male cheetah lounging in the sun just 150 meters from our tent – he was totally at ease, yawning, and he generally seemed to be in a great mood.
Suddenly his whole body language changed and he looked stressed as he made tracks towards the woodlands. Following his gaze we saw what he was looking at – three adult cheetahs out in the open. They too were sitting on their haunches, gazing attentively in his direction.
Satellite tagging has shown that they move between various coastal areas to forage, which means that they constantly move in and out of protected habitat, making their conservation challenging. While formally protected throughout their range in East Africa, they are still harvested for their meat, shells and eggs for both human consumption and for decoration.
We spent the rest of the day on the plains watching the great migration in sublime solitude. We saw herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, and even a couple of lions in heat. Despite the good game viewing, we were a bit worried about the male cheetah.
Coming back to camp for lunch, we spotted him again – a stone’s throw from camp, lying under an acacia, looking just as content as ever. So all is well that ends well!