Cheetah on a Car


Cheetah in the Maasai Mara

Two Digital Gypsies Rating – 5 Stars

To see our YouTube video of Cheetah on a Car, please click here.

The Swahili name for cheetah is “Duma” and it is one of the most elegant and graceful animals on the planet. The cheetah has a small rounded head, long neck, deep chest, special pads on its feet for traction, and a long tail for balance. Built for speed, it can reach speeds of 70 miles per hour. Cheetahs live 10 to 20 years, can weigh up to 140 pounds, and their habitat is the open plains and savannas.

We’ve never seen a cheetah in the wild, and it never entered my realm of possibility that on the last day of our safari as we were driving out of the Maasai Mara in Kenya that we would encounter a cheetah, let alone one that was sitting on the roof of another safari vehicle.

According to our guide David said the reason this happened is that the safari vehicle in question probably go too close to the cheetah in the first place. The cheetah probably viewed the vehicle as a big “box” that it could jump onto and have a better view of the surrounding countryside. Our guide also said that lions will often crawl under a safari vehicle if it gets too close to them and shade up. He also said that things wouldn’t become a problem for the people in the “box” if they didn’t do something stupid like stick their hands and arms out the roof to take picture or get out of the vehicle for the same reason.

Communication must be good between safari drivers, because it didn’t take long for multiple vehicles to show up and surround the vehicle with the cheetah on it.

After a few minutes of sitting on the roof, the cheetah hopped down and began walking down the road. With multiple safari vehicles vying again for the closest proximity to the cheetah it hopped on a second vehicle and the whole mini circus started again.

Like the first vehicle after a few minutes the cheetah hopped down again and this time headed through the tall grass instead walking down the road again.

After the encounter with the cheetah I was a little embarrassed how all of us as a group in safari vehicles treated this majestic animal. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.