A Cheetah, Jackal and Dozens of Vultures Eat an Impala on Safari

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  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.

 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.

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  • Reply
    10 Reasons you Should Visit South Africa | The Looptail, The Travel Blog Powered By G Adventures
    January 8, 2013 at 1:44 am

    […] are many countries where you can go on safari but there is only one Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in the world. (Which also goes into Mozambique and Zimbabwe along […]

  • Reply
    December 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Those are some incredible photographs of a truly uncanny experience. The only carnivore I’m going to watch eat this weekend is an uncle as he huddles over a plate of brisket and runs off with the mashed potatoes.

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      hahaha thanks Nathan! I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Reply
    December 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Holy crow! I cannot believe you saw an animal eating. I guess it really is the wild.

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      It was pretty crazy! I wish we had seen the kill!

  • Reply
    Thomas @ World Wild Travel
    November 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    What an amazing experience! Hope we’re as lucky as you were when we start our safari in a week! Hope to see a Cheetah!

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      I hope you had a great time Thomas!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

    That Cheetah seems to be enjoying his Prey. Vultures got their own chance and they made it. By the way How much distance was between you and that cheetah at the time of capturing His snaps? Thanks Cailin

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      Adrian in that first photo you can see the cheetah behind me maybe 15 or 20 feet! Amazingly close!

  • Reply
    Kate - Canuckiwikate
    November 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

    WOW, Cailin, that is absolutely incredible that you guys got to see something SO rare! It’s crazy that the other safari could also get up so close to it!

    • Reply
      January 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Kate it was out of this world!! We were as close as them if not more!

  • Reply
    Debbie H. McCulley
    November 13, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Callin, Thank you for this fantastically informative video. I hope you don’t mind if I show it to my 6th graders. We are doing a book about Africa in English class. Kate’s Mother, Deb

    • Reply
      November 13, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks so much Debbie! You can definitely share this video all you want, I hope the kids like it! :)
      There will be more videos about mine and Kate’s trip coming out soon too :)

  • Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Must have been a great experience… I remember seeing my first wild leopard in Sri Lanka on a Safari but never seen a kill!

    • Reply
      November 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      I missed seeing the kill too, but the eating part was just fine enough with me :) Haven’t been to Sri Lanka yet, but I will be sure to look out for Leopards when I’m there :) I think I want to go on a Safari looking for tigers in India next!

  • Reply
    Alexa Hart
    November 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    What an amazing experience! Really liked watching the video.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks Alexa! It was pretty cool to see first hand :)

  • Reply
    November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Wow! That was crazy awesome to watch. Nature at it’s wildest! Nice capture.

    • Reply
      November 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks Alicia! It was a bit unreal! haha Glad that Cheetah wasn’t looking at me and licking its lips :)

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