A tourist who took a cheetah selfie while on safari was shocked to learn that she had won an award for recording her special moment in photos.
A pair of cheeky cheetahs leaped on top of a vehicle in the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya, when Clara Vela was on safari.
The girl from Barcelona, along with her pals Matiola Liberal, 41, and Jorge Alesanco, 44, was within inches of the big cats and couldn’t help but take a photo.
Clara took photos of her and her pals sitting in the open-topped vehicle as they stalked the cheetahs’ territory for food.
It wasn’t until nearly two years after her 2013 trip that Clara noticed she wasn’t the only one to record her interesting occurrence on camera.
Unsurprisingly, a photographer had caught photos of them posing with the cheetahs and was subsequently rewarded for his efforts.
Yanai Bonneh, a wildlife photographer from Ein Habesor, Israel, was only meters away from Clara in an adjacent Land Rover and had recorded the entire encounter.
When one of Yanai’s photographs was chosen third prize in the National Geographic 2013 Traveller Photo Contest, Clara found out about his photos for the first time.
“I couldn’t believe what was going on when I saw the cheetahs leap onto the roof,” she added.
“I was perplexed and frightened, but it was an incredible experience, especially when the passengers started taking selfies with the cheetahs.
If you treat a cheetah with respect, they are not dangerous.
“They just use the cars to see their prey better.
“When I discovered Yanai’s picture was one of the National Geographic photo contest winners, I wanted to find out who took it.”
“I came across him on Facebook and started chatting with him there; he was shocked I’d reconnected with him after so long.”
The pair were shocked to learn about the encounter and compared photographs before deciding to meet in London, where they had both planned on going on vacation.
Yanai presented huge prints of the iconic photograph for Clara and her friends during their first encounter in London earlier this year.
Yanai said: “I was on vacation with my family in Kenya when I captured the images.”
“We stopped by a pair of cheetahs in Masai Mara National Park for two minutes, and both the curious cheetahs leaped on the car in front of us.
Fortunately, I had my camera on me, so I quickly pulled it out to capture the moment.
“I had no idea who these people were, nor did I ever encounter them again, which was strange given the picture’s infamy.”
“But when Clara got in touch out of the blue, I was shocked.
“When we spoke at length about our experiences, lo and behold, we were both planning to go on holiday at the same time again.”
“But it was in London this time, so we decided to meet up.”
“The meeting in London was odd and amazing, even though it was apparently preordained. But I’ll never forget it.”
“I don’t think anyone will ever take a better photo of me in my life; it was an extraordinary moment.”