Googled out – Trust the experts in the field

Visits to the Jungle is always full of surprises mostly pleasant ones. While the surprises are abounding, to get it to work for your satisfaction one needs tons of patience and trust. Patience as a trait isn’t easy to adopt in a place like Masai Mara since there is so much happening all over and every jeep that you bump into telling you there is something else big and better some distance away.

Trust in whom? All of us are at best sporadic visitors to the jungle with overflowing information of the terrain, from the knowledge channels on the television or general rambling of experts on facebook. There are these guys who are in the forest for their living and have seen and known the terrain and animals more intimately. I am referring to the person behind the wheels your guide and driver. Trust him and you will make documentaries yourself else you will only see all those great films and keep bitching that one can never see such stuff in the forest.

This photo story is a tribute to Mulei, our trusted partner in Mara without whom we wouldn’t have witnessed the precision with which the cheetah plans and executes its kill. Now let’s move to the action packed piece.

Little did we realize that when we first saw the Cheetah on a mound that we are going to be spending the next couple of hours with her.


She gets off the mound and runs across and Mulei was very sure her next stop would be atop the jeep. He was right she was soon seen on the roof of a jeep, which was her vantage point for spotting her prey. I have one more thing ticked off from my “to see list” (wanting to see Cheetah on the roof of a jeep). As the Cheetah worked on her lunch the occupants of the jeep had their best group photographs of their life.



Off she went with purpose. The most athletic creature walks right into our jeep and our expectations ran high thinking our jeep roof is the next. So we were making grand plans for our next few head to head frames with her. She disappoints and this tick mark would have to wait for another day.


Little did we know at that point in time that from her first Jeep vantage point view she had zeroed in on her target and now she just has to wait to get it. She ambles past our jeep and waits in the shade for quite a long time.

cheetah under the tree

This wait was for more than 40 minutes and in this time quite a few vehicles decided to leave disappointed that there is no action and that the cheetah had gone to rest. This is exactly where you trust your man because as he had rightly predicted a large herd of Wildebeest comes running across. The target keeps moving and the cheetah is still un-moved and she lets a fairly large herd move across. Finally, the cheetah gets up and sprints in the direction of the tail of the herd.



The final countdown – The fastest animal on the planet shows her skills. She goes full speed direct to the herd and the Wildebeests are frozen.


At that great speed she does a turn and goes in for the calf which is running aimlessly unaware of the cheetah behind her.


Its only then it strikes us that cheetah mostly hunts calfs and it had waited in the shade to exactly let the calf come in view so that she could go for it.



The cheetah brings the calf down and catches her breath as she takes the breath away from the prey. So we get almost 90 minutes of planning the kill and exactly a few seconds of action if I exclude the sprint to the kill.


While the cheetah is bestowed with the speed she lacks the strength of other large predators in protecting the kill for long. She has to polish off the kill as soon as possible since there are the Hyena’s and the Vultures who would scoop in on the kill quite soon.



The cheetah is at the job of digging on to the kill in a hurry un-concerned with the jeeps around her. She knows we are not to be bothered about. So here we go contended with our sighting and the cheetah with her kill.


As I said earlier this story wouldn’t have been possible without Mulei who at every turn in this story had positioned us right for the action. Thanks Raphael Mulei for making our day.


~ by Uma & Ganesh on September 15, 2015.

One Response to “Googled out – Trust the experts in the field”

  1. Lovely wonderful national geographic in print

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