Zimbabwe: Mana Pools NP – Cheetahs on a Kill

We were on the way to the airstrip to fly out of Mana Pools early in the morning when we came across a super awesome and rare sight – three cheetahs on a fresh kill in an open area of savannah. Our guide was absolutely floored – this is a super rare and borderline improbable sighting: he himself hasn’t seen cheetahs in Mana Pools in the last eight months and the entire cheetah population in this massive park is estimated at 5-8 animals. And we saw 3!!! Cheetahs need open savanna which is not common at Mana Pools. At the same time, the competition from sizable populations of lions and hyenas is very fierce – so cheetahs are a rarity here. But this morning it was a true cheetah feast – they must have taken down an adult impala just minutes before we arrived and were taking turn devouring it. Cheetahs are gorgeous cats and the fastest land animals in the world, capable of reaching speeds of 128 km/h. They have very slim built with long legs and long tails, while weighing only 20-40kg for adults.