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With the light fading fast, this was one of the last shots I was able to get off before packing it in and heading back to camp for the evening.

Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) are diurnal hunters, most adept at utilizing the daylight and fairly open spaces to take full advantage of their incredible speed. The majority of other cats however, are hunters of the night, coming into their own when their superior night vision gives them a distinct advantage over their more poorly sighted prey.

With darkness fast closing in, her vigilance spoke more to her unease at the presence of danger to her vulnerable cubs than to a need to hunt. Not a kilometer away, we had just left a fantastic sighting of two pride male Lions just setting out on their nights hunting expedition, and I’m sure she sensed their presence and proximity. Utilizing the height of the embankment as a lookout to full effect, she didn’t relax for a moment, but continued her constant scanning of the surrounding bush for any sign of danger.

Mkuze Falls private reserve, South Africa


mother, animal, safari, wildlife, wilderness, africa, mammal, cat, cheetah, cubs, carnivore

Although Canadian by birth, I grew up in Africa and from an early age travel became a regular part of my life. As a result I developed an early passion for my two great loves, Africa and aviation. Being fortunate to return to Africa every year with our own safari company “Explorations Africa”, all of my photos of wildlife are taken in their natural and unstaged settings. Please visit us at

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  • carol brandt
    carol brandtabout 4 years ago

    ahhhhhhh what stunning creatures, what marvel of design…
    when I was very young my big dream was to one day get to Africa to see the amazing wild animals there.. decades later I got my wish on an all too short visit to Kenya.
    I saw a cheetah watching over her three cubs in rather thin scrub, her beautiful kittens with those beautiful eye markings popping their heads up in the tall grass. But a lion was approaching, and she was keenly aware of him. It looked like the outcome was gonna be grim, so we didn’t stay. Your wonderful posts bring all this back to me. Africa is so ALIVE.

  • Interesting observation. Africa seems to bring out something in us and to us that is entirely unique…thanks Carol.

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesabout 4 years ago

    How lucky you are, great capture!

  • I have been very fortunate! Thanks Magaret

    – Dan MacKenzie

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesalmost 4 years ago

    Please consider entering this stunning capture in our CURRENT CHALLENGE

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesalmost 4 years ago

  • Michael  Moss
    Michael Mossover 2 years ago

  • Larry Trupp
    Larry Truppover 2 years ago

    Very nice capture

  • Magaret Meintjes
    Magaret Meintjesover 2 years ago

  • Konstantinos Arvanitopoulos
    Konstantinos A...over 2 years ago

    24 April 2012 – 2 images per day

  • Vitta
    Vittaover 2 years ago

  • Michael  Moss
    Michael Mossover 2 years ago

    Excellent !

  • Thanks so much Michael!

    – Dan MacKenzie

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