“Close Encounters on Safari: Tourists Face Cheetahs Up Close”


Africa is a land of beauty and hardship; beautiful sunsets and wide varieties of wildlife contrast with the very real social and economic challenges that exist on the continent. For the animals that live there, human intrusion can spell disaster on so many levels. However when this group of tourists showed up on the African plains, they got so much more than they bargained for. Mickey McCaldin of Ireland was on vacation with his wife and her sister at the Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya, accompanied by family friend David Horsey who is from Mombasa, Kenya. David has been living in Kenya his whole life and said he has never seen anything like this. The curious Cheetahs surprised tourists during a ride through the game reserve. Mickey and his family had been through the reserve a couple of times earlier in the week and had been following the family of Cheetahs for a few days prior. Check out what happened when these curious Cheetahs surprised tourists and gave them a memory that will last a lifetime.

The group of tourists had been tracking a well-known family of Cheetahs, the mother of whom is known as Malaika. Mickey and his family had noticed that the Cheetahs hadn’t had a kill in a few days.

The curious Cheetahs surprised the tourists with how comfortable they were around them. David says he thinks it’s because the group had been following the family for a few days at that point. Apparently they were so at ease with the car and the people, that the mother decided to jump on top the car to get a better view of the surrounding landscape.


One of the younger Cheetahs tried to follow his mother, but instead ended up jumping inside of vehicle! “I think the other cheetah tried to follow her up but went a different way.” That’s when the curious Cheetah surprised tourists by coming within a foot of their faces.

It was at this point that David said Mickey may have been a little scared. “At first Mickey was really relaxed but I think he was quite concerned that it might try to sit in his lap.” The Cheetah was literally a foot from Mickey’s face at one point.

I may have had the same look on my face as Mickey if I was in his shoes. I love animals, but to be this close to a big cat that can tear your face off at a moments notice might have been too close for comfort for me. Nonetheless, what an amazing experience this much have been!

Having direct contact with African wildlife would be the experience of a lifetime. These animals are things that most people will only ever see in magazines, T.V. shows or at the zoo. These curious Cheetahs surprised tourists the probably the best way possible and no one got hurt. Now a few more people have a bigger appreciation for the beauty of wildlife throughout the world. I would call that a win.


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