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  • Cheetahs on the Masai Mara

It may be an appreciation for an animal who's hunting pattern has barely changed for thousands of years or just an attraction for such a majestic cat that makes us love cheetahs. This rangy, spotted feline is now an endangered species. It has a narrow bloodline and often loses its hard-won prey to more powerful lions, leopards and hyenas. Infant mortality is high and encroachment by man increasingly detrimental.

Despite their lack of strength and stamina, cheetahs have one incredible faculty - speed. To see one first tracking, then sprinting across the plains after an impala or gazelle is one of the iconic sights of nature. With blazing amber eyes and sinewy bodies, cheetahs are tailor-made for the open grasslands of the Mara & Serengeti and the open pans of Etosha, where they sight their quarry at great distance.

As daytime animals, cheetahs are photographically superb. To find one in the early morning, belly concave with hunger and a pair of cubs urging her to hunt is pleasure enough, but with it comes the added thrill that at any moment she may be off on the chase. This animal is serious predator box office.

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