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Cheetah in flight

We were on the first afternoon of a wildlife photography trip with Kicheche Camps when we found this beautiful female cheetah in the Olare Motorogi Conservancy bordering Kenya’s Maasai Mara.  The sun was breaking through the clouds and the mother had two cubs and the family were enjoying a respite from the heat under an acacia tree.  Despite their playful games and mock charges, all three were clearly hungry and fatigued.  After a short while, the mother  decided enough was enough and leapt into action in pursuit of a young Thomson Gazelle. She went from rolling in the savannah with her cubs, to a 60+ mph (96kilometre) sprint in less than three seconds. I captured the scene with a slow-pan. Only seconds later when it was over, did I realise I had been holding my breath.   For many reasons, the conservancy model is the template for the Mara community wildlife conservancies and a blue-print for the sustainability of the greater Maasai Mara eco-system.  Consisting of representation from both Maasai landowners and tourism partners including Kicheche Camps, the conservancy limits guests to a maximum of 94 beds in five camps. This equates to a ratio of one game-viewing vehicle for every 2,100 acres, a move that is aimed at maximising the client wilderness experience and minimising the environmental impact of tourism.  We were alone in our encounter with this beautiful cheetah and without the conservancy model ensuring there are no interruptions from revving vehicles and her two legged beasts, the future of the cheetah and her cubs is guaranteed.  For more information about wildlife safaris visit www.kicheche.com

Kicheche Bush CampOlare Motorogoi ConservancyKicheche Camps Landing strip, the Mara