Over the recent long weekend I spent two days at Mhondoro Safari Lodge in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, which is in the Waterberg region of Limpopo. This trip amazed me in several ways, the first of which was how close Welgevonden is to Joburg (about two-and-a-half hours), and the second of which was how luxurious and fantastic Mhondoro is. It’s definitely one of the top three nicest (if not the nicest) safari lodges I’ve ever been to.

The third most amazing thing about Welgevonden was, of course, the animals.

Male lion in the grass at Welgevonden Game Reserve
Lion in the grass at Welgevonden Game Reserve.

I’ll have a lot more to say about Mhondoro in my next post. But I don’t want my cheetah hunt story to get lost in the shuffle of that post so I’m telling it here.

I have been a travel writer in Africa for nearly a decade and during that time I have participated in dozens, if not hundreds, of game drives and bush walks and other wildlife viewing experiences. But the Holy Grail of wildlife viewing — watching big cats on a hunt — eluded me until my trip to Welgevonden.

Cheetahs on the Hunt in Welgevonden

Spoiler alert: I didn’t see anything kill anything else. (I’m not sure that’s something I want to see anyway, as I imagine I’d feel very distressed. But Circle of Life and all that.) I did, however, see a family of cheetahs racing across the plains in pursuit of a herd of blesbok. It was the closest I’ve seen to a live Sir David Attenborough documentary.

Mother cheetah and cubs
This mother cheetah (center) has four eight-month-old cubs, two of which are visible here. We’d already been watching this family all morning — earlier the cubs were on high alert as their mother left them to chase away the male lion pictured in the image above. Note the mother’s thousand-yard stare: She’s looking out over the bushveld at a hapless herd of blesbok in the distance.
Mom has zeroed in.
Mama cheetah running
There she goes.
Cheetah on the plain
Not pictured here: A herd of giraffe watching curiously from the side, a couple of ostriches striding off to get out of the way, and three of four jackals circling around hoping to swipe a few bites of the cheetahs’ eventual kill. It felt like a scene in The Lion King. My eyes aren’t as good as a cheetah’s so I never saw the blesbok.
Cheetah cubs on the hunt
The cubs chase after their mom. These cub are already weaned and need to start learning to hunt themselves.

And that was it. Our guide later told us the cheetahs caught and devoured their blesbok but no one (at least no humans) saw it happen because it was too far from the road.

We had several more great sightings during our visit to Mhondoro — stay tuned for the next post.

My visit to Mhondoro was complimentary. Opinions expressed are mine.

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