Travellers on safari go to considerable effort to see animals in their natural habitat but one honeymooning couple found they were the ones under observation when a curious cheetah pounced on the roof of their car to look at them through an open sunroof.
From Washington DC, newlyweds Edgar and Stacie Cobos were on a safari game drive in the Serengeti when the predator leapt onto their vehicle. Spread over 14 per cent of Tanzania, the Serengeti is a protected reserve that houses an exceptionally varied collection of wildlife. Among the natural phenomena that can be witnessed there is the great migration, when almost two million wildebeest move through the region en masse. Visitors who want to see big cats in the wild might encounter lions and leopards in addition to cheetahs, and the Serengeti is also home to rhinos, buffalos and elephants.
Mr and Mrs Cobos were exploring the area while staying at the Serengeti Safari Camp. A luxury mobile camp positioned in northern Tanzania, it features just six tents and is repositioned throughout the year so guests remain in close proximity to the passing migration and can observe the abundance of wildlife that follow it. Residents at the camp have use of a library and bar and dine together at a communal table each evening.
As for the cheetah that took such a keen interest in the couple, it remained in place long enough for the unnerved passengers below to cautiously photograph the event before losing interest and moving on.
Tourists who want to see cheetahs in the Serengeti are most likely to make sightings in February, when the grass is short. The number of big cats in Africa has dropped by 95 per cent in 50 years and there are now just 8,000 cheetahs roaming in the wild.
On their safari columnists also had a remarkable encounter with cheetahs in the Serengeti, where one of the big cats jumped on the bonnet of their 4x4.