A cheetah-walking safari is the brainchild of Will and Sharon van Duyn who have been active full time in cheetah conservation for over two decades. A highly endangered species, abandoned, injured and rescued cheetahs find a home and a new lease on life, at Modgaji Conservation and Rehabilitation Projects in the Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area.

Did you know?

Male cheetahs live in small permanent groups called coalitions, which are usually made up of two to four brothers.

Experience a cheetah-walking safari as an overnight safari package, or a day trip. The walk is entirely focused on the rehabilitation process that forms part of the reintroduction into the wild of these graceful, rare cats.

Your cheetah conservation experience begins in the cheetah enclosure with a professional guide. Here, the cats introduce themselves at their discretion, and you’re briefed on what to expect and how to behave around the cats before you walk with them on their morning hunt. No children under 12 are allowed on the walking safaris because strict discipline is required from the guests. At all times the welfare of the cats comes first. You’ll walk a lot, talk very little, and if a cheetah makes a kill, run a bit so you can catch the action.

Don’t imagine that you’re expected to keep up with nature's equivalent of a Formula 1 racing car. On an Eastern Cape cheetah safari, you’ll walk with cheetah and see what it sees as it scans the plains for game, sit a few centimetres away when it’s resting, and briefly pet the animal if it approaches you. It’s truly a intimate encounter; a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to look into a cheetah’s eyes, hear its vocabulary of rumbling purrs and sharp bark-miaow cries, and watch, as this amazing animal evolves into the awesome predator it was meant to be.

A cheetah-walking safari can last from 45 minutes to several hours – remember, these daily walks are about getting the cats to the point where they are confident, competent hunters, able to be released back into the wild. Nonetheless, for the not-so-fit and elderly guests, a vehicle can collect you and bring you back to the lodge. Water and snacks are provided to sustain you.

A cheetah safari rewards on so many levels. The funds from your safari are ploughed back into the cats’ conservation; you’re helping to save an endangered animal for future generations; and you experience the privilege of playing ‘mother’, as you partake in simulating the ritual of a mother cheetah guiding her cubs out into the savannah to teach them the skills they’ll need to hunt and survive.

Travel tips & Planning info

Related articles