I don’t know why I was surprised. This is the reason people visit after all.
It’s called Cheetah Park, although there is nothing park-like about it. In the late afternoon we pulled off an above average African highway (above average due to the fact that it was actually paved) and took a dirt track a kilometre or so to what appeared to be a working farm. We were welcomed at the eight foot high fence by two genial Teutonic farmers, clearly father and son, who took us through the front gates on foot and around the side of their colonial style house to the back garden.
As I walked around the corner my legs froze and I raised my arms in defence before knowing why. In front of us were three adult cheetahs, regally prowling the lawn, while a lanky cub embarrassed the farm dog for pace as they chased each other across the garden.
I knew that today we’d see cheetahs. I didn’t know we’d meet in such casual circumstances.
It is still legal to shoot cheetahs in Namibia and the older farmer we met used to do so to protect his cattle. After killing the mother of some cubs about fifteen years ago, he took them in and since then has kept cheetahs at his farm, and in his back garden.