Cheetahs are a rare species. Uniquely built for speed and agility, the fastest land animal is a sight to behold at full sprint.  However, they have it rough, balancing precariously between encroaching human population and the challenge of being at the bottom of the predator chain. In many of the protected wildlife areas—typically locations for safari—, lions and spotted hyena thrive. These natural competitors frequently take kills away from cheetah as well as destroy cheetah cubs when the opportunity arises.

Fortunately, there are some safari areas that still deliver excellent cheetah viewing.

Cheetah Videos

Best Places to See Cheetah on Safari

Cheetah siblings in the Serengeti
Cheetahs on the Serengeti Plains.
The expansive grasslands of the greater Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem are the preferred habitat for cheetahs where they have the advantage of seeing great distances and can disappear into the sea of grass. The Great Migration calving season from December through March offers a unique opportunity to observe these magnificent animals in action as the wildebeest graze in the fertile grasslands surrounding Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and into the Southern Serengeti. This is a time of year when cheetah cubs can often be seen and busy mothers hunt wildebeest calves regularly.
In June of 2014, the remote eastern region of the Central Serengeti opened up to tourism after being reserved as a cheetah research center for years. Cheetah are still found in this area with only a few camps to choose from including Namiri Plains Camp, Lemala Nanyukie, Sametu Camp, and Nyumbani Camp.
Kenya’s Masai Mara and neighboring Conservancies are also outstanding for cheetah viewing, just a notch below the Ndutu area. The Mara is fantastic year round as opposed to being dependent on the migration. For wildlife diversity and excellent big cats, the Mara can easily be combined with time in the Serengeti.

Other Areas of Note

Phinda Game Reserve
One goal in the creation of Phinda Game Reserve in South Africa was to manage it for the benefit of cheetah. Sightings are fairly reliable in this large, fenced reserve area that houses seven different habitat zones.
Northern Botswana
Northern Botswana has some areas that feature excellent cheetah viewing. However, the cheetah density is low, and the resident cheetah often utilize large home ranges making sightings difficult to predict. The best option for optimizing for cheetah viewing, therefore, is to include at least two regions that are historically strong for cheetah sightings.
Namibia has the largest population of cheetah yet they mostly live on private lands where tourists will not see them.

Something Extra

A stay at Namibia’s Okonjima Lodge’s camps directly supports the Africat Foundation. The foundation rescues and relocates cheetah and leopard to new locations in the wild. Africat Foundation averages about an 80% rate of successfully relocating cats that have come into conflict with farmers.
Visitors have the opportunity to go on foot and by vehicle to observe cheetah that are not suitable for release but living in large enclosed areas.


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