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Ndugu Duma.jpg

Cheetah Brothers

Duma Ndugu

Cheetahs are typically solo hunters, relying on stealth, speed and the element of surprise to bring down their prey. They are limited by their size as to what they can and cannot take down.

Here, in the Maasai Mara North Conservancy, the scales have been tipped.

As the sun began to rise, darkness giving way to light, my Maasai guide Steve Liaram, spotted them sneaking not far to the west of the dirt road we were traveling.

Two cheetahs.


They’d approach, looking about, paying us no mind, marking the occasional small tree with their scent and move on.

We’d get a few snaps but not “the snap” and Steve would fire the jeep up again and we’d reposition.

Then, a much bigger tree.

They paused at the base.

“Get ready man…I think one of them is gonna go up the tree!”

Cheetah’s, unlike the leopard, don’t spend time in trees. Until they do.

Up he went, and as he did, my camera followed him…somehow I knew, something very special was happening.

He had no sooner reached his perch, starting to survey all the land to the horizon, when the other followed.

Both now, side by side in this magnificent Acacia, the clouds behind…perfect…it was just the two of them and me.

And then, in unison, as if actors perfectly playing out their roles, both swung their glance straight into the lens.

The camera whirred, 10, maybe 15 frames…and that was it…down the tree they went.

“Did you get it?!?!? Please tell me you got it!!!!” My mind screamed as I raced to pull the just taken images back into the viewfinder, zooming in as tight as the camera would allow.

My head dropped.


Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks.

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