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Where to see Cheetah in South 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

The top camps for seeing cheetah in South Africa

Based on 32 reports by our travellers since Jun 2018, visitors at these camps in South Africa have the best chances of sighting cheetah.

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.


Our best South Africa holidays for cheetah sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for South Africa safaris are likely to give the best cheetah sightings

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Kwandwe Self-drive Safari

3 days • 1 locations

An elegantly stylish lodge that is well suited to families, Kwandwe offers a range of safari activities and the chance to sight all of the "Big 5" during exploration of the Eastern Cape.

US$2,730 - US$4,250 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$14,300 - US$18,160 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,180 - US$3,650 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$12,080 - US$17,850 per person

View all holidays to South Africa

More information about cheetah in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about cheetah in other countries, including the places for sighting cheetah.

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