Most people list the leopard as the most elusive of the big cats to locate on safari. In truth, cheetah on safari can be even more difficult to spot because their population is less abundant. Regular sightings of cheetah on safari are usually sporadic and local, hence they are limited to only a few regions where the habitat and predator pressures are most favorable. If cheetahs are on your must-see list, below are SafariBookings' tips (in no particular order).

10,631 African Safaris


1. Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya

Mother cheetah with cubs at Masai Mara, Kenya

Cheetah sightings occur regularly at Masai Mara GR (and surrounding conservancies, such as Olare Orok, Mara North and Naboisho) and also at Serengeti NP, northern Tanzania. The grasslands of the Mara and Serengeti are the perfect cheetah habitat.

1,531 Masai Mara Safaris


2. Okavango, Kwando, Selinda and Savuti, Northern Botswana

Cheetah walking past zebra and wildebeest at Savuti, Botswana

This vast region offers good opportunities for cheetah and, as a result, safari-goers enjoy regular sightings in the area’s more open savannah regions.

247 Northern Botswana Safaris


3. Etosha National Park, Namibia

Namibian cheetah at Etosha National Park

With its arid open grasslands, Etosha supports a good population of cheetah and is consequently the largest repository of these speedsters in Namibia.

109 Etosha Safaris


4. Private Reserves in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

Cheetah and safari vehicle at Shamwari Game Reserve

In the South African province of the Eastern Cape, cheetah populations benefit from private ownership. There are consistent cheetah sightings at several of the reserves in the region.

33 Eastern Cape Safaris


5. Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan in Botswana

Two cheetahs on the road at Central Kalahari Game Reserve

With ample prey species (especially springbok) and open grasslands, the Central Kalahari, Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan region in Botswana is a good place to seek out cheetah. Make sure to check out Deception and Passarge Valleys, Piper and Tau Pans.

22 Central Kalahari Safaris


6. Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Cheetah at Buffalo Springs, Kenya

Lewa Wildlife Conservancy is renowned for its excellent cheetah sightings and recently removed the fence barriers with its neighbor, Borana Ranch extending this ideal cheetah habitat even further.

Lewa Safaris


7. Ruaha National Park, southern Tanzania


Despite the dense predator numbers of lion, leopard and wild dog, Ruaha NP (in Tanzania) is still a good location to seek out cheetah on safari. It is important to note that you should go there in the Dry season, for better visibility.

67 Ruaha Safaris


8. Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah stretching at Kafue National Park, Zambia

Cheetah are found throughout the park, however, they come into their own in the northern Busanga Plains region of Zambia.

47 Kafue Safaris


9. Okonjima, Namibia

Cheetah resting at Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia

Okonjima is home to the Africat Foundation and is a significant rehabilitation center for cheetah. Although it is not a safari destination per se, it is a wonderful stopover for anyone traveling by road to Etosha.

28 Okonjima Safaris


10. Private Reserves in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Cheetah with cubs at Phinda Game Reserve

A number of private game reserves in this province of South Africa re-introduced the cheetah and populations are doing well.

Phinda Safaris


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10,631 African Safaris

By Patrick Brakspear
Australia AU

Patrick has been an Africa travel specialist, based in Australia, for over 10 years and prior to that was a safari operator in Mana Pools in Zimbabwe.

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