It all started one afternoon with word that there had been a female cheetah with cubs seen on Sabi Sabi earlier that day. The thought went through my mind that “wow, that would be incredible to see”, unfortunately they moved off and not to be seen again.
On one very cold morning the call came through over the radio that they were back! Without hesitation, we headed over to the area. Being a fairly new guide at Sabi Sabi, I have never seen cheetah cubs on the reserve before, so the excitement was sky high!! I was like a child on Christmas day ready to open the presents, and my present was seeing the female with two cubs, and the sighting was incredible – they were jumping onto fallen over trees, chasing each other, and running to mom for help from the other cub. What a dream come true for me. It was worth the cold, and I would do it all over again just to see these amazing animals.
There is something incredibly special about watching cubs interact with one another and the speed that they have at such a young age blew me away as they chased each other around a fallen down tree, but what really made it special was how beautiful they were. They still had all their fluff on their backs and feet bigger than their bodies, as if they still need to grow into them.
Watching how their mother would interact with them, groom them and always keeping an eye on them showed me the love that she has for the two cubs. She was always making sure that they were safe, even when they would run off for a few meters she always had an eye on them. If they wondered off too far, she would give a slight contact call and they would come sprinting back to mom without any hesitation.
With any sign of danger, a simple call and they were by her side; if she moved away they were right there with her – the trust that they have in their mother was amazing, they knew that if they were with their mother they were safe, but with that comes great responsibility from the mother. She now has two extra mouths to feed which is not a simple task and as they grow they will need more food to remain healthy and strong to grow up to become adults and start their own adventure in the wild without the protection of their mother. From what we have witnessed, she is an incredible mother and the two cubs are in great hands.
A dream come true for me having the privilege of seeing these cheetah cubs.