Graceful Sprinter

The Cheetah

Graceful and lightening fast


Graceful Sprinter

The Cheetah

Graceful and lightening fast

An elegant, rare, and lightning-fast predator, cheetahs are the scarcest large felines in Africa and are classified as an endangered species.

Only around 7,100 of these highly specialized hunters remain, with the majority residing in Namibia. Once nearly wiped out by disease, the population south of the Sahara has managed a slight recovery. However, challenges persist due to low genetic variability and high rates of inbreeding within the current population.

Today, protecting these graceful predators is mainly hindered by human-wildlife conflicts and illegal trade. As they lose their natural habitat, the spotted sprinters are drawn to commercial farmlands. Awareness and conservation campaigns aim to mitigate conflicts between farmers and cheetahs.


Acinonyx jubatuss

The Cheetah

Cheetahs, weighing between 40-60 kg, are delicate large cats. As lightning-fast sprinters, they hunt their prey on the savannah, reaching top speeds of up to 105 km/h. They can go from 0 to 100 km/h in just three seconds. Solitary by nature, they rely on their speed as their trump card. While leopards and lions can take down fully-grown antelopes and large animals, cheetahs focus on small mammals and fawns to minimize the risk of injury.


Profile: Cheetah

  • Shoulder Height: ♂ 80 cm ♀ 75 cm
  • Weight: ♂ 55 kg ♀ 45 kg
  • Diet: Small to medium-sized antelopes and small mammals (e.g., scrub hares)
  • Mating: Year-round
  • Gestation Period: 3 months
  • Birth: Year-round, approximately 3-5 cubs per litter
  • Lifespan: Up to 16 years


Cheetah: Lightning-fast Sprinters


Cheetahs are elusive solitary hunters. Females are even more solitary than males, who sometimes roam in pairs or trios to attract female attention and defend their territories together. Both genders possess a streamlined body built for speed: long legs, a low chest, high flanks, and a narrow waist.
While their spotted fur resembles that of leopards, they are distinct in their facial features. Their heads are more rounded, with black tear marks running from their eyes down their muzzle. These "tears" shield their eyes from sun glare, ensuring clear vision during the hunt.

Unlike other cats, cheetahs cannot retract their claws, enabling them to run with spikes, providing excellent traction. They are also diurnal. Another unique feature: their canine roots are relatively short, allowing for larger nasal openings and increased airflow, while their bronchi, lungs, liver, heart, and adrenal glands are larger than those of other cats. This enables them to recover from their sprints much faster. Additionally, they can pant while still holding onto their prey with a bite.

Cheetahs at Kambaku

There are quite a few cheetahs at KAMBAKU. Their tracks are often found, although encountering them in the reserve is a stroke of luck.