Umlani Sightings Blog- A one in a million sighting
The last couple of weeks have been extremely interesting here at Umlani, lion dynamics have changed, leopards have been mating and amongst all of this we had an extremely rare sighting, even rarer than mating leopards...
Last week as vehicles were returning to their respective lodges after a morning safari, news broke out over the radio of a rather special sighting, 3 cheetah brothers had brought down a wildebeest not too far from Umlani camp. No sooner had vehicles closed down they were back out and responding to this sighting, its not every day that this kind of sighting happens, in fact over the last few years there has only been a handful of cheetah sightings just to give you an idea of how special this really was.
We bundled into one of the game drive vehicles and headed out, by the time we got into the sighting the 3 brothers had been pushed of their kill by the hundreds of vultures that had descended on their kill, its common knowledge that cheetah won't fight for their kill and are easily harassed and bullied out of a meal. We found the brothers resting in the shade but shortly after we arrived they were up and mobile again, full bellies showing that they did in fact all get a good meal and all was not lost when they had their kill taken over. They were heading in the direction of one of our waterholes and knowing that after a good feed a good drink should be in order we looped around and decided to wait at the water for the brothers to arrive. This gave us the opportunity to position ourselves at the perfect angle to get the most amazing photographs of these rare and endangered big cats. The wait was on...
After about 15mins we started to get glimpses of the cheetah moving through the thickets towards the dam, they took a brief moment to check if the coast was clear in the shade of an apple-leaf tree before heading down to the water to quench their thirst.
The cheetah then headed to the shade of an acacia tree to rest and sleep off the hot hours of the day and their full bellies, and we decided it was a good time to leave them be and headed back to camp with cameras full of memories, wearing smiles on our faces that were bigger than the Greater Kruger...which is pretty big, over the coming week and a half there has been numerous sightings of these cheetah brothers, lets hope they stick around and become regulars out on our safaris.
Written and photographed by: Greg McCall-Peat