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Cheetah in Africa

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

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Quick facts about Cheetah

Scientific name: Acinonyx jubatus Habitat: Grassland & woodland
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 50–70kg

The cheetah is unique among Africa’s large carnivores in relying on speed as a hunting strategy: long-legged and deep-chested, it is the greyhound of the cat world, capable of surpassing 100km/h in a short burst. A cheetah typically hunts small to medium-sized antelope, including impala, springbok and gazelles.

Roughly the same size as a leopard, it differs in its slimmer build, smaller head and round, solid spots. It also has a distinctive black ‘tear’ line beneath each eye.

The downside of the cheetah’s specialisation is a reduced resilience: this predator quickly surrenders its prey to other predators, and its silver-maned cubs, born in the open, are vulnerable to attack from hyenas and lions.


Number of spots

112 km/h

Max. speed


Average litter


Worldwide population

Africa's top camps for seeing cheetahs

Based on 1064 reports by our travellers since May 2018, the camps below have the best chances of sighting cheetahs. Simply follow the key below.

Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for cheetah

% of travellers who saw cheetah

Top 10 camps for cheetah

% of travellers who saw cheetah

Where to see cheetahs in Africa

Cheetahs are rare, but their preference for hunting by day gives you a decent chance of spotting one in areas where they occur. Search for them in open country.

Top tips for viewing cheetahs

Cheetahs prefer open savannah habitats, where they can more easily spot and pursue their prey. They are thus most easily seen in regions that offer this terrain, including the Serengeti/Maasai Mara (Tanzania/Kenya) the central and southern Kalahari (Botswana/South Africa) and Etosha (Namibia). Good populations also occur in the Okavango (Botswana), Kruger Park (South Africa) and Kafue (Zambia).

Nonetheless, cheetahs are rare, having lost more than 90 per cent of their historic range across Africa. Look for them by day, scanning the grasslands and watching for prey animals on the alert. Check termite mounds, too: cheetahs have a convenient habit of perching on top. Sightings are typically of a female with cubs or a group of young males, known as a coalition.


Holiday ideas to see cheetahs

Based on our travellers experiences, these are the holidays which will give you the best chances of good cheetah sightings

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Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

13 days • 5 locations

Four luxurious camps enable exploration of Tanzania’s north and southern regions. With a range of land- and water-based activities available throughout, decidedly comfortable accommodation and applicable long-stay discounts, this adventurous safari is excellent value.

US$17,280 - US$25,560 per person

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Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

US$13,200 - US$18,440 per person

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Nyala Safari

10 days • 3 locations

A superb luxury safari in iconic Hwange and Mana Pools national parks, staying in a pair of the finest safari camps in Zimbabwe, with a grand finale at Victoria Falls

US$10,150 - US$15,050 per person

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Gabar Goshawk Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations

Experience Amboseli, the Maasai Mara ecosystem and Laikipia during this economically priced safari. Two simple camps offer adventure before a stopover in Nairobi and a final stay in the charming, wildlife-rich Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge.

US$5,800 - US$6,090 per person

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De Brazza Monkey Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations

Enjoy a range of activities in the remote wilderness of northern Kenya before exploring the wildlife-rich plains of the Mara ecosystem. Private vehicles and guides heighten the personalisation of this highly immersive safari.

US$12,310 - US$16,320 per person

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Martial Eagle Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations

This stylish fly-in safari visits two of Africa’s most iconic parks, the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Tanzania's Serengeti National Park.

US$10,740 - US$17,740 per person

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Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations

Different wildlife, contrasting camps and a whole host of activities, this is a safari for those wanting to get out and about and not just sit in a vehicle.

US$6,350 - US$10,960 per person

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Our top destinations for cheetahs

Click below for detailed information about cheetahs in these countries, including our latest sightings data from the camps and lodges there.

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