Cheetah and Wildesbeest Alan Hewitt Photography

Cheetah and Wildebeest, Fujifilm X-H1, Fujinon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6

A couple of weeks ago we spotted this lone male Cheetah looking to hunt in the Ol Choro Conservancy of Kenya’s Masai Mara. The plains were full of potential prey, young Wildebeests and Zebras, Grant’s and Thomson’s Gazelles and Impalas. As always, ethics come first and we watched from a distance as the Cheetah began to stalk an unsuspecting pair of Thomson’s Gazelles. The Cheetah made its move too early and the Gazelles fled, pronking high in what looked like an insult back to the Cheetah for its inexperience and failure.

The Cheetah gave up quickly and continued to survey the area for another opportunity. A group of Wildebeest became nervous and began to chase the Cheetah away from their main herd. The Cheetah carried on walking and the Wildebeest continued to run, forming a circle and almost ‘coralling’ him!

As the Wildebeest retreated back to their herd, the Cheetah took an opportunity to rest for a few moments. We positioned ourselves where we could photograph the Cheetah and also include the Wildebeest. Given the distance between ourselves and the Cheetah and also the Wildeebest further behind, we would never be able to get them both in focus with telephoto lenses. Instead I opted for the widest aperture to keep the Cheetah as the prominent point of focus allowing the Wildebeest to become blurred in the background but still recognisable as a species.

With thanks to our fantastic guides, Titimet ‘Moses’ Nampaso, Boston Nabaala and Godfrey Rukwaro. Legends!