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First cheetah birth in Madikwe Game Reserve

  • October 07, 2020 | Rhulani Safari Lodge

On safari with our very first guest since the reopening, Mr John Pickering and his wife Suzie, something special happened. Something very special. For the very first time we sighted a female cheetah with cubs. If you have followed our blogs over the years, you will know how intensively and unsuccessfully attempts have been made to get cheetah offspring. And now, all of a sudden, like a miracle, here it is.

First picture of the cheetah female with the cubs (Photo provided by Mr. John Pickering)

We heard rumors during the lockdown that one of the Cheetah females might have had cubs. "But we never saw them," says Riaan, Rhulani's manager. “Firstly, cheetahs hide with their cubs for the first few months, and secondly, we wanted to minimize the stress on the animals and did not actively look for them.”

So the birth of the cheetah remained a mystery. We knew that this would be sensational news. Never in the almost 30-year history of the reserve has a cheetah been born. It is very difficult for cheetahs to get cubs in the wild and raise them, especially with the many dangers in a Big 5 reserve.

On this afternoon drive our guest John Pickering had the camera ready. "The photo is not very good," he writes to me when he sends me the photo via email. "The animals were about 200 meters away and it was a bit dusty."

But the photo is fantastic, and the first one, which shows the cheetah mother with two cubs. She is in a nice position, on a small mound. As Riaan tells me, this cheetah even has four cubs.

I am told that our head ranger Sean found the cheetahs by accident. It was really a lucky moment because we are not allowed to leave the road and actively look for these animals.

As so many times, we are amazed about the daily miracles of nature. We wish the cheetahs all the best on their journey through life in Madikwe.