These beautiful cats are always a treat to see, especially since they are one of Africa’s most endangered species. We have done our research to inform you on where to spot cheetahs – the world’s fastest animals. We have summed up the sightings from January 2020 – July 2022 to give you the best chance at spotting cheetahs. Our research is compiled of tings from the Kruger National Park, Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Latest Sightings receives various wildlife sightings via the App and WhatsApp groups. We receive thousands of sightings every year from various parks around southern Africa. Our community has sent in 2 432 cheetah sightings from January 2020 – July 2022. Reports of wildlife sightings from our users can be classified as citizen science. A valuable form of data collection due to the high numbers of sightings we receive.
The world’s fastest animal is in fact endangered
Cheetahs are the fastest living land animals and can reach speeds of up to 128 kilometres per hour (About 80 miles per hour). These animals are built for speed and not for strength because of this their meals are often stolen by lions, hyenas, leopards, and even vultures. They will often be killed by other predators for competition elimination.
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Their social structure consists of either a female with cubs, solitary animals, or males that form coalitions. Unlike their biggest enemy – lions – they don’t have the safety in numbers factor when it comes to hunting, defending their kills, and protecting their territory. Males and females are sadly not monogamous and meet up only for mating rituals resulting in a limited gene pool. They are also not widely spread across Africa thus limiting mating opportunities.
Of the sightings received from our community the majority (38%) of the time cheetahs are seen alone, 15% of the time they are seen in a group of 3, and only 0.01% of the time have 6 cheetahs been spotted together.
Cheetahs’ social structure according to tings received
Where to spot cheetahs in Kruger National Park
The park can be split into three sections, the north, central, and south. The northern part of the park ranges from the Olifants River to the Tropic of Capricorn. As depicted below cheetahs have been seen relatively frequently in the past 2 and a half years in the north of Kruger, from Punda Maria all the way down to Letaba. To spot cheetahs drive along the H1-6 near Letaba as well as the roads surrounding Mopani.
In central Kruger, cheetahs have been spotted from Olifants Camp down to Skukuza Camp. This is rather amazing since the Latest Sightings community tends to spend more time in the south of Kruger. Cats are often spotted at a higher density in the south of the park as shown in our blog – Where to Spot Lions.
It is awesome to see so many cheetahs are seen in the central part of the park given. From Olifants down to Tshokwane, they tend to be reported along the main roads mostly, such as the H1-3, H6, S100, and H1-4.
And of course, they love the south, and so do our tingers. In comparison to the north and central parts of Kruger, the south seems to have more sightings of cheetahs. This does not however mean that cheetahs are more common in the south – it merely refers to the reports received from our community.
Cheetah sightings are common around Crocodile Bridge, and Lower Sabie. Predominantly along the S28 and S25 road and the H4-2. The H3 and H1-1 are also good areas to spot these stunning cats if you are around Pretoriuskop, Malelane, and Phabeni!
You would think the fastest animals on earth would be highly active!
Where to spot cheetahs in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Our Kgalagadi community is one of the newer ones that we have formed and are growing. Thus, the graph below merely depicts the reports we receive from our tingers and does not reflect all of the cheetah activity in the Kgalagadi. Cheetahs are most commonly reported from Twee Rivieren up to Kieliekrankie and then to the west around Mata Mata. We can’t wait to receive more cheetah sightings to expand our understanding of where they occur in the park – should you see any cheetahs, join us on our WhatsApp group and let us know!
They may be predators, but they are not nocturnal!
Cheetahs are predators and hunt their prey – which of course is where their speed comes in handy. But what many don’t know, is that these cats are not nocturnal and actually don’t see as well as lions and leopards in the dark. They are more active during the day because this is when they see best – much like their victims. Sadly this also often counts against them when trying to hunt, as their prey can see them coming more easily as opposed to when it is dark. Thankfully their speed makes up for this deficit.
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Of course, when it is too hot, they do not hunt as much as when it is cooler early in the mornings and later in the afternoons. This is to conserve their energy giving them their best chance of success when it comes to taking down prey.
Where to spot cheetahs in Pilanesberg Game Reserve
Over the past 2 years, our tingers have reported these beautiful cats predominantly in the centre of the reserve with the most activity happening in and around the Pilanesberg Centre and Mankwe Dam. But as depicted, their distribution seems to be quite spread out in the reserve. They are even spotted in the hilly parts of the park along Moloto Drive and Tlou Drive.