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Impala Walks Right into Three Cheetahs

A mistake can cost you everything! Unfortunately, this impala did that mistake today when it walked out of the herd directly into 3 cheetahs hiding behind a termite mound.

25-year-old, Michael Tilley, was a Game ranger at MalaMala Game Reserve and captured this spectacular sighting of a young impala walking right into 3 cheetahs!

Michael told that emotions were running high as they watched the sighting play out.“The sighting took place during a morning game drive at MalaMala Game Reserve. The three cheetahs were seen late in the afternoon the day before – so two other rangers and I set out with our guests to try and relocate them that morning.”

“Probably an hour or so into the drive, we managed to find them in a block of land to the south of our airstrip. The cheetahs were still resting when we found them. The composition of the cheetahs was a mother and her two sub-adult cubs.”

“The cheetahs slowly started to get active, with the two sub-adults grooming and playing about. We followed them as the mother began to lead them further south from where they were located. Anticipation was growing on the vehicles as it seemed the mother was heading towards a large open area where, hopefully, there would be some prey species gathered.”

“Aware of what could potentially unfold, we circled ahead and spotted some impala milling about at the southern tip of the open area. With the cheetah emerging on the northern edge, we positioned our vehicles on the eastern ridge of the open area so as to not disturb any potential hunting situation. The cheetah settled down on a large termite mound to weigh up their options, but the reality was that there was still a large distance between them and the impala, and the chances of a successful hunt didn’t appear very high at all.”

“My guests were experienced safari-goers, but had mentioned prior to the sighting that they had never seen a successful cheetah hunt before. Needless to say, everyone was extremely excited to see how the mother cheetah would coordinate a hunting attempt.”

“What happened next was quite remarkable. An impala, unaware of the cheetah to their north, began moving through the open area. With a strong wind blowing from the south, and the large termite mound keeping the cheetah out of sight, a single female impala was now heading straight towards the lurking predators. We watched on from the edge of our seats, amazed by what we were witnessing.”

The sightings ended with the female impala making it to a mere three meters away from the cheetah before noticing them, her fate was all but sealed. A quick, 100 or so meter chase ensued before the three cheetahs pinned the impala down.


The cheetah began feeding, but the sighting was far from over. As it turns out, we were not the only ones watching this hunt unfold, as a young female leopard was sitting atop a termite mound on the western edge of the open area. There was no interaction between the cheetah and the leopard, however later that morning it was reported that a male lion (one of the Gowrie Males) chased the three cheetahs off of the remains of the kill. MalaMala madness!”

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