I had some amazing encounters with Cheetahs on foot during my stay at this reserve. On one occasion, Charl Senekal (the manager of the reserve which is owned by his family) took me and my young daughter up to within 7 meters of a female he's named Scarlet as she was resting under a tree on a hill after making a kill early that morning. She was very relaxed in our presence and needless to say my daughter was thrilled with the experience.
This photo was taken a day or two later, when we released the oldest male on the reserve (called Kalahari) from a boma in which he was recuperating from a small surgical procedure he'd been subject to. We followed him on foot as the boma was opened and he started patrolling his territory again. These cheetahs are wild and hunt for themselves, and have been habituated to Charl's presence since they first came onto the reserve.
In this photo, he had jumped onto a fallen tree and took in the scent of a rival male who passed through here the previous day. I crouched down and framed my shot to have the curious Giraffe in the background as well (he just happened to walk by at this point in time).
The fact that I was shooting with at 112mm focal length should give you an idea of how close I was...
Nikkor 70-200mm f2.8 VR @ 112mm
f4.0 | 1/1000 SS | ISO-200
|click on the photo to view at optimal resolution and sharpness
Encounters with the predators of Africa on foot are special and to be recommended - provided you do it in the company of guides who know the animals of the region and are trained to handle dangerous encounters on foot.
Have a great day, folks. Keep your eyes on the Wild Eye website as we should be releasing a Zimanga-based package soon!