Cheetah

It was Monday May 2nd and it was a public holiday in Namibia.

I am very lucky to have good ICAO friends so I was invited to join them on an excursion east of Windhoek were I would see some big cats.

Jossie had the necessary means of transport – a four-wheel driven car. I am glad for that!

Here is Jossie, me and Ben (Binge…). We had to leave the car here…

…because of this sign and because of the reason behind it.

But our guide didn’t follow the advice and he knew what he was doing.

For the first part of our drive we climbed this practical thing. Off for the cats!

And we found them. Beautiful animals! The cheetah (gepard på svenska) can be found all over Namibia.

It is not a very big animal. From ground to shoulders about 85 cm. A big male can weigh 60 kg. But it is a very, very fast animal…

It is rather exciting when it is starting to move towards you with those muscles that look so efficient. The cheetah is by far the fastest animal on the ground. It can accelerate from standing still to a speed of 100 km/h in just three seconds and it can reach top speeds of 120 km/h.

The cheetah is so much depending on it’s speed that it cares much about it’s health. This means it does not take risks, it doesn’t fight unless it is for the kill that will feed it. And after the kill it quickly eats the best and softest meat and leaves the rest for the other animals to fight about – like hyenas and lions.

We were able to get really close to this fascinating animal.

Really close…

Close enough to hear that nice purr (the cheetah is the only big cat that purrs like a small cat) as you cuddled it…

The cheetah’s we saw were one male and two females. Their history begins with a cheetah mother having four kittens. A farmer took them…

…with the intention of catching their mother. She did not turn up and after a few days one of the small ones died. Then the farmer left the other three here.

So they have grown up here. They have been fed and they have become tame.

The smallest female is used for “walking”. That means that you can come here and take a walk in the African wilderness with a guide and a cheetah.

During such a walk recently this young cheetah suddenly took off. After that fantastic acceleration and in that enormous speed the guide saw her catching and killing a Red Hartebeest – a big antelope that can be two meters long and weigh 130 kg.

So these nice, tame, purring cats are also a little bit wild. Do you know why they have that “eyeliner”? It is because they are daytime hunters. The black below their eyes has the function of “sun-glasses”.

It was a great experience being this close to these beautiful cats.

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