Friday Lockdown Visitors: An Afternoon With a Cheetah Mom & Her Cubs
Our spirits have been a little low over the last couple of days, because our Grampsy has been admitted to hospital with an infection. And the hardest part is, we can’t be there with him. The hospital isn’t allowing any visitors, which actually is a really good thing. But, I know for my Grammy, she’s taking this super hard. Married 53 years, and yet they can’t bear the thought of being apart for a minute, let alone for a few days. That is what I call true love.
So I went over to have tea with Grammy on the deck this afternoon, thinking I’d take her mind off everything for a while. As we walked on to the deck, I looked up and spotted, a sub-adult male lion on the other side of the river, watching a wildebeest. I was so excited; I shouted, “Lion, Grammy, one of my boys is here” and quickly grabbed my camera and started filming.
We were enjoying the sighting tremendously, and were chatting about how long we have been wishing they’d come around, when I saw a herd of impala, and some wildebeest running at full speed towards the horizon.
More lions, I thought, as I looked through my binos, trying to see what had startled them.
And then, I saw them… the three cheetahs. Again. “No ways, it’s cheetahs,” I said to Grammy, and Darryl who had now joined us, “three of them. Must be the same ones as last time”.
This time they were walking down towards the river, and were in perfect sight. Darryl had a look through the binos, “It’s a mother with 2 big cubs,” he said.
We sat there marveling at their beauty, as they elegantly strolled down the bank toward the river. We were hoping that they’d take a drink from the water, but they were too nervous.
I wondered if the young lion, which was lazing about in the grass further upstream, would do anything if he saw the cheetahs. But, he didn’t do a thing, instead he just lazed about in the grass all afternoon, until eventually the sun disappeared. Had I not seen him standing up when I walked outside, I never would’ve known he had been there. Which leads me to my next theory, that we probably have big cats here a lot more than what we see or think, but with the tall grass, they camouflage so well. It’s like they’re not even there.
We spent two hours watching the cheetah, who sent our poor bush mafia (troop of resident vervet monkeys), in to a total frenzy. There eyesight is remarkable, but then again, so are the cheetahs. They could see us sitting on the deck, and I think this made them even shyer.
At one point, I had thought they might cross the road in front of Crocodile Bridge, so Grammy and I got up to walk down to our units 1 and 2, for a better view, but when they caught sight of Grammy on the move, they started heading up in to the bush, where they lay behind a small tree for a little while. (Cheetahs are really shy animals, and not like lions at all. We are so used to lions seeing us, and not even being one bit perturbed.)
Eventually they made their way down to the river again. It was a beautiful sight to behold, as the mother selflessly stood watch while the cubs drank. She didn’t even take a drink.
Once they were done, they started walking across the open plain, towards Crocodile Bridge, and just before reaching the road they headed up north in to the bush, disappearing from our sight. One of them even stopped, to sit on a termite mound, in true cheetah fashion.
In my entire life, I had never seen cheetah here until a week ago, and now I’ve been lucky enough to have them visit twice. I’m not really sure what has caused them to start visiting, the lack of human activity at the moment, the fact that we don’t have lion around as often as we usually do (although both times they’ve visited there have been lions here, I don’t think they knew it though), or just serious luck on our part.
But whatever it is, I am grateful. It was just what we needed to raise our spirits today.
You can read my previous story of the cheetahs here : Lockdown Isn't So Bad When Three Cheetahs Visit
For the videos of our amazing sighting today, feel free to visit my Facebook Page, Life is Sheedy :)