A while ago I wrote a post about how we were very lucky to be experiencing such great cheetah viewing on the reserve and I am very happy to say that that has not changed.
Even though we have enjoyed cheetah sightings all over the reserve, the south-western grasslands are where the majority of them have been which is what made one particular afternoon particularly enjoyable.
We were right on the other side of the reserve in an area not known for its cheetah viewing when out of nowhere two young males appeared from the grass.
This young pair are most likely brothers and, judging by their size, they are newly independent which means they would be roaming the greater area in the hope of establishing a territory. The last time we had seen this pair they were in the far north of the Londolozi which just goes to show how these nomadic males are trying to cover large areas in the hope of finding a suitable territory without too much competition from existing dominant males, plenty of prey to catch and females to mate with.
Almost immediately we realized the pair were focused on a herd of impala some distance away so we sat dead still and waited to see what would transpire. They started to stalk the unsuspecting herd but they still had quite some distance to go before they could launch an attack.
One of the impala noticed the advancing cheetah and sounded the alarm, which triggered the stalking cats into full sprint. Impalas are incredibly quick and the herd took off. At one point it seemed as if they were getting away and that the cheetah had missed their opportunity but then one of them locked on to a young male impala that had not reacted as quickly as the rest of the herd. The chase was intense and we quickly lost sight of both cheetah and impala.
In the distance in a big open clearing we could see a puff of dust suddenly erupt in the area we had last seen the cheetahs running and as we got there we could see that one of them had been successful. The other came running in and the pair fed on the impala as quickly as possible. It was sunset which meant it was the time of day when other predators would also be moving around and so these two needed to eat quickly before anything else was attracted to their kill.
In less than half an hour they had finished the majority of their kill leaving only the legs and the stomach contents behind.
It had been a great afternoon for the two of them and a meal like that would have been a big confidence boost for these young males. The energy that they gained from that meal as well as the experience of another successful hunt would put them in good stead going forward as they continue to grow into a coalition that we will hopefully see roaming Londolozi for some time to come.