Obligatory tourist photo with a hardly able to see Cheetah in the background eating an Impala.

We were told it was a once in a lifetime experience seeing a Cheetah in the wild eating a fresh kill of Impala while we sat by and watched. To make it even crazier after the Cheetah had its fill a Jackal came in for the leftovers and then attempted to fight off 30+ Vultures from trying to do the same. An incredible show of nature in the wild that our guide who had worked there for nine years had never even seen.

To me however not only was seeing this Cheetah (let alone one eating) a once in a life time experience but being on a Safari in South Africa and altogether just being in South Africa was a once in a lifetime experience for me that I hadn’t seen happening anytime soon in my life. Over the past few years I have been very fortunate traveling to the places that I have been able to travel too with 2012 being the best year of my travels yet, I’d say this trip to South Africa was the icing on the cake. I’ll go into more detail on this trip in a future post but for now, back to the Cheetah.

You can follow the story through the photographs below or if you really want to experience it like we did hit play on the video above.

It was our second day at the And Beyond Luxury Safari Ngala Game Reserve a private reserve attached to Kruger National Park and it was our second Safari / Game drive out of the six that we would be doing. Up to this point we had already seen some amazing animals like Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Zebras, millions of impalas, a verent monkey and the tracks of the elusive honey badger just to name a few. We were on the hunt for the Big Five and to see a Cheetah would just be an added bonus.

A call came in over the radio that a Cheetah had been spotted eating an Impala. We had missed the kill and thrill of the chase but I’m almost happier that we got to miss the whole “animal suffering” part of it and just saw the end.

First we came across a Jackal eating something that we later learned was an Impala fetus, as the one the Cheetah was eating had been pregnant and some how this Jackal got that part of it away from the Cheetah.

Our first view of the Cheetah was of it lying down hiding out in the bush, a few meters away from the dead Impala. Perhaps taking a rest to digest.

Our Ranger JP moved around the bush so we could get a better view of the Cheetah. You can see the fresh blood on its face.

Then the Cheetah went back to eating, wary of other animals approaching.

More Safari vehicles arrived to take a look.

As a second Jackal waits a couple meters away for the leftovers from the Cheetah.

The Cheetah finishes and walks away as Vultures arrive.

One of dozens of Vultures land in a tree near by.

The Jackal moves in.

The impatient Vultures stand by giving the Jackal ย a few moments to get his fill.

The Vultures multiply and get closer and closer.

The Jackal gets his last few bites in before the Vultures pounce.

With in minutes of the Vultures stepping in, there is no Impala left.

ย The whole thing was over in less than 10 minutes. It was a crazy experience and just one of the many awesome things that I got to see on Safari while in South Africa that I will never forget. It wasn’t a “Battle at Kruger” but it was epic enough for me.


Thanks to South Africa Tourism for hosting me on this trip to South Africa. All opinions and views expressed are my own.