Regional Focus

African cheetah takes a rest surrounded by dense bush, camouflage in Africa, African safari, big cats, the Big Five, beautiful distinct markings

Top Five Places to Spot a Cheetah

Cheetahs are one of the famed big cats of Africa. They are the fastest runners and tend to prefer open plains to wooded areas, both for chasing down small antelope and keeping watch for threats. While they are fast and nimble, they are not the strongest of the cats, and lion and leopard can pose a danger. Some of their preferred open environments include the following:

  1. Maasai Mara National ReserveThe open savanna and plentiful hoofed mammals make this Kenya highlight a classic cheetah habitat.

  2. Serengeti National ParkYear-round migrating herds of some two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle and the rocky outcrops, or kopjes, dotted along the landscape are ideal for the slender but fierce cat’s appetite and visibility.

  3. Kafue National ParkThe northwest corner of Kafue, called the Busanga Plains, is one of Zambia’s best open grasslands and a great habitat for large herds of puku, a small, golden antelope, attractive to the cheetah.

  4. Kalahari DesertBotswana’s green season transforms the Central Kalahari Game Reserve into a blanket of grass, attracting a number of grazing herbivores followed by hunting cheetahs.

  5. Samara Private Game ReserveA favorite for conservationists, this private reserve brought the cheetah back to South Africa’s Eastern Cape after 125 years of regional extinction. It’s now home to three percent of South Africa’s wild cheetahs.

Click here to view the weather and wildlife patterns of these destinations.

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Image © Dana Allen