Cheetahs are probably the least deadly of the big cats.  Yes, they have
 razor sharp claws, but they're very light, and very agile, which means they
 have less bite force and strength than your average German Shepherd.
 That's not to say I would be entirely relaxed were one to get that close to
 me, but having been within reach of one before, I was perplexed when the
 people in the car were relieved when it left.  I would have sat there for
 hours watching it (Maybe they did. After the first edit, the sun did seem
 lower in the sky)
 It definitely saw a high point where it could scan the horizon for miles
 around, and it turned out to be fairly comfortable, once it got used to the
 people around.
 Regarding the traffic jam, I don't think it was a traffic jam, just all of 
 the drivers have radios, and cheetah sightings are *extremely* rare.  
 I've been on hundreds of game drives like that since 1980, and I 
 can count on one hand the number of cheetah sightings I've had.  
 A cheetah that stayed out in the open for that long, well, probably every 
 tour bus driver within 20 miles started heading in that direction.  
 (Funny factoid:  When we started driving around game parks, we would find 
 big cats by looking for vultures circling over kills.  Now we just look 
 for tour buses)
 For those of you who are curious why I've been on hundreds of game drives 
 like that, I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Tanzania and Kenya, and 
 even when I grew up, my parents only moved back to Canada from Nairobi in 
 2004 or so.  So every time we had visitors, we would go to Amboseli, or 
 the Serengeti, or Masai Mara, or the Ngorongora Crater.  My dad loves 
 driving, especially in challenging conditions, so we've driven 4x4s around 
 most of the parks in that part of the world.
 Sometime in the 90s, we got blase about the whole thing: "The tyranny of 
 the charismatic megafauna" is the phrase my sister used to refer to the 
 usual game drives, and it's true, there's about 10 animals people go on 
 game drives to see, and once you've seen them a bunch of times, well...  
 Then we discovered bird-watching, which was endlessly fascinating.  There 
 are hundreds of different bird species, and they're harder to find.  So 
 while all of the tour buses were circled around a pride of lions, we would 
 be staring fascinated into some tree trying to determine whether something 
 was a kingfisher or a honey-eater, all the while the person who was 
 visiting would be giving us funny looks.


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05 December 2012