• Jessica Kunamalla


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

This cheetah encounter with Mukuni Big Five was definitely one of the coolest things I'll ever do. It is definitely top three on our list of favorite experiences during this Africa trip and probably of all time.

I felt completely safe the whole time. The handlers were always calm and in control. There were a few times the cheetahs were purring, which freaked me out a little!

The handlers first talked about the conservation of the cheetahs and how they care for them in the facility. Then we were invited to pet the cheetahs. I was pretty gentle at first, trying not to make any sudden movements, but apparently the cheetahs like firm petting so they can actually feel it through their coat. They also like rubbing their heads and under their chin. The mom's even let you pick up their tail since they're used to their cubs playing with it.

It was so cool to see these beasts up close and personal. A little on edge, but amazing none-the less.

After having sometime to be with the cheetahs and snap a few pics, we took them on a walk. I definitely let mine do the leading, leaving a lot of slack on the leash. They seemed hardly bothered by our presence though. I have dogs at home and this cheetah was much more well-behaved than they are. Again, I never felt like we were in danger. It was such a thrill to have experienced a cheetah up close, and I would definitely recommend this excursion on your trip!

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