This looks like the PERFECT savannah stroll, with cheetahs joining this excursion group.
Hunter and Floppy are two large male cats from the same litter who were adopted as cubs. Ntombi is a tiny female that has been hanging around humans since she was rescued as a youngster.
They’ll still range and hunt from their lodge, which is shared with their caregivers and visitors, but they will also happily go for a stroll with delighted tourists.
The kind cats also enjoy a little stroke before heading out when the humans become too tedious.
Julia Wimmerlin went to the Tshukudu Game Lodge in Greater Kruger, South Africa, which is owned and managed by the Sussens family.
The three cheetahs were saved by their lodge owners after their mother was ki.l.led by a lioness.
However, instead of releasing them into a sanctuary, they allowed them to grow up in the wild while utilizing the lodge as a secure shelter.
“There are three cheetahs, two brothers and their sister, who live on the cast’s territory at this lodge.
“The owners saved them when their mother was kil.l.ed and raised them, considering they should remain wild.
“Contrary to many rescued cheetahs that live in enclosures, these three live as wild as any other animals around.
They hunt to survive, but seeing their human parents as a secure haven makes them feel comfortable approaching the lodge when they need rest.
“When the guests leave for a bushwalk in the morning, it’s not uncommon to have their two brothers or the sister walking with them.
They allow people to pet them, but they grow weary of the attention and flee into the woods.
“They are very loyal to the lodge owners and the man ranger, and if he whistles, they come and see him.”
Julia went to the lodge in the hopes of being allowed to walk with the cheetahs, as she had done previously in Namibia.
The collars are tracking devices that allow the lodge owners to monitor their well-being and avoid po.ac.hers.
She added: “The great thing is that they are still wild.”
“There was a double thrill of walking in the forest and then being escorted by wild cheetahs.
I felt excitement, amazement, and a little trepidation.
“I was getting up to them very close with the camera, and the animals were okay with it. “
“That was fine in the jungle, but when they wanted to sleep back at the lodge, and I still kept shooting, one of them did what my cats do and kicked me with his paw.
“Needless to say, his paw is bigger and much more powerful, so I got the message.”