Life is Not Easy on the Serengeti, Part Seven: What's a Cheetah to Do?

Previous Episodes:
Part One – Wildebeest Migration
Part Two – Lion in Wait
Part Three – Cheetah
Part Four – Cheetah
Part Five – Wildebeest/Cheetah
Part Six – Jaws of Death


Cheetah, African Safari

We’ve decided to move on to see what we can spot on the plains of the Serengeti.  Having spent the better part of our morning engrossed and entranced by the unsuccessful and semi- successful events of the morning with the cheetahs, we notice the cheetah appear as if they will take one last shot at a meal for the day.  We decide to wait!  

The two cheetahs are back together, not too far from each other.

They’ve jumped on and off the National Geographic vehicle several times, and our vehicle and two more are the only ones in sight. Everyone else has given up and realized these cheetahs were not going to be successful in their hunting on this morning, and have moved on.

Wildebeest_cheetahWe believe in these cheetah.  We think they will finally get their meal.  We almost feel sorry for them and all their un-successful tries.  We watch them intently as they focus intently on the approaching herd.  One cheetah takes position in a small clump of grass just aside a vehicle, in clear sight of everyone in that vehicle. You can see them leaning down to take photos.  If you open the door, the door would hit him in the face.  That’s how close he is.

Fast approaching the cheetah is a long herd of wildebeest, oblivious to the cheetah alongside the vehicle.  The other cheetah, off a short distance away, seems to be oblivious to the approaching herd.  Only the cheetah next to the vehicle is strategically positioned for attack.  The herd approaches…..they can’t see or smell the cheetah.  As they always do, they walk with their head downwards.  We think they see the cheetah’s outline, but they don’t, they walk directly onto the clump of grass where the cheetah lies. You would think the cheetah would just grab the leg. That’s what we thought too. One wildebeest walks past, then another, then another, and another – we wonder what gives with these crazy cheetahs. We’re losing our faith in their hunting skills, but we know, at some point they will have to be successful or they will die on these endless plains.

My guest says, ‘what do I have to do, take a slingshot and have the wildebeest drop at the cheetah’s feet.  I’m not impressed with their hunting skills, as he notes one wildebeest after another walks almost straight over the cheetah.  From our vantage point, it actually appears as if one wildebeest after another puts his hoof almost on top of the cheetah’s head. After about the sixth or seventh one in line passes, the cheetah jumps out of the grassy mound, spooks the herd, but in a way that starts the chain of wildebeest to run. The cheetah does not take off after them.  He’s really not in position to do so now. Once again, the cheetah loses out and gives up – on this opportunity.

That is our cue to give it up as well; the cheetahs are now so tired, all they can do is throw themselves onto the plains and take an afternoon siesta.  It is afternoon by now.  We’ve spent most of the morning with them. We learn later in the day from other drivers, that the cheetah were still unsuccessful the rest of the day.  Tomorrow is another day. The day has been busy, with lots of predator activity.  Could it get any better?  We wonder what we might see as we head back to camp for lunch. Will we be late for lunch as well?  Only time will tell!

Safari Kay


1 Comment

  1. Eydie on April 26, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I’m sure the cheetah managed to eventually score something to eat. Today, however, the wildebeest were a tad bit smarter. 🙂

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