At AfriCat, theses large carnivores are looked after, researched, tagged and collared and put back into the wild of Okonjima, a natural game reserve of 24,000 hectares.
The collars are used to research the movements and behaviour of the cheetahs and leopards, but also allow them to be tracked, so that guests can see these beautiful creatures in their natural environment.
Four young cheetahs were released into the reserve earlier this year. They are called Dash, Dizzy, Ruff and Tumble.
They have had varying degrees of success in hunting prey. Dizzy is a female and has split from the boys – earlier this week she brought down a warthog on her own.
“We pile into the vehicle to track our cats. As always explaining to my guests that we will be driving until we get a good signal from the radio collar, and then we get off and walk to our cat. We drove for miles…..in fact it was very close to the Grand African Villa which is separate from the main camps. With Martin, the Villa tracker, leading the way – excited guests behind and me at the rear for safety, we head off into the bush.
Well Dizzy made us live up to her name, one minute the signal is this way, then that way, then the other. One of the guests pointed out that he had seen the same flowering plant three times now. Finally we find her, with her jaws firmly clamped around a steenbok’s neck, that’s why we had a spot of bother, she was chasing lunch. Once she was satisfied that it was truly dead, she then flopped down in that graceful way cheetahs do to catch her breath. The guests were in awe, it’s not every day this happens.
When she was ready to eat, the seating arrangements obviously didn’t suit, as she picked her kill up and dragged it into the shade. We watched respectfully from a distance until she gave that look as if to say. “Do you mind, I’m eating.” It was brunch time for us as well so we left her in peace.
Later on she graced us with her presence by resting at the Villa waterhole in the shade. Even giving us a show when a kudu came down to drink and had second thoughts, the Dizzy stare said it all.
The guests were so impressed with her that they have now sponsored Dizzy for a year, thank you Alan and Vicky. See you next year.”