Cheetah Hunts Ostrich Chicks – Samburu

Samburu normally dry and arid is an oasis of lush green with the rains. The antelopes have started to migrate to the plains where there’s an abundance of grasses to forage on.


Recently, we ventured into the neighbouring Buffalo Springs National Reserve for an early morning game drive and a picnic breakfast.


En-route by the Gir Gir hills, we came upon a male cheetah. Previous to this, the last spotting of a cheetah in Samburu National Reserve was a fortnight ago. The male cheetah, looking very hungry spotted a Somali ostrich with her chicks – 24 in all.



The cheetah began to stalk them. We followed.  In a few minutes, the cheetah sprung into action and like lightning sprinted for the chicks. The chicks lay down and the cheetah missed them completely.


Not one to miss his meal, the cheetah returned and caught a chick. A few seconds later we saw him carrying the chick in its mouth but only to come face to face with the male ostrich. The ostrich kicked the cheetah and landed a powerful stomp on its back. But the cheetah sprinted to the thorn-filled commiphora tree with the chick still in its grasp. The ostrich unable to penetrate into the thorn bush went to its remaining clutch. On our way back from Buffalo Springs later in the day, we found the cheetah still devouring the chick in the same place we had left him.




Heritage Hotels (Kenya) manages one luxury camps in the Samburu Game Reserve – Samburu Intrepids - set on a shaded section of the Uaso Nyiro river. Each of the 30 luxury tents sits on a raised deck overlooking the brown river where the elephants sometimes make an appearance, or the crocodiles come out to lounge by the river’s banks.  Report and pictures by Stephen Tilas, Resident Naturalist, Samburu Intrepids Camp ©Heritage Hotels Ltd, Kenya.

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