South African Cheetah (family Felidae; Genus Acinonyx jabatus jabatus):- They are found predominantly in South Africa, Namibia broadly, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. There are a few other subspecies namely Asiatic, Northwest African, Sudan and Tanzanian cheetahs.
Cheetahs hunt by sight and are crepuscular (active at twilight) but they also hunt during the day and rest at night except on bright moonlit nights when they might also hunt. In so doing they try to avoid their main competitors. Adult females are rather solitary whilst males many times function in coalitions. They are frequently seen on elevated positions like termite mounds from where they can see their prey. They can reach a speed of 70km/h within 2 seconds from a standing start and chases are short with most being less than 200m as the cheetah can only maintain its full speed for about 500m.
This particular morning I left Satara early and headed east into the sun on the dusty Nwanedzi river road when I came across this lovely cheetah. It had its attention focussed past me and it kept still just long enough for me to get a few lovely shots in the morning sun.
I came across a farmer with a keen interest in the large cats and for his sanity, he said, had to get away from the farm regularly to get to Kruger and spend a few days chasing the cats in search of good photos. Later that morning I encountered him again on my way back — he had succeeded in tracking the cheetah for a while!!