Cheetah Surprises Tourist By Jumping Into Safari Jeep In Kenya [Video]

An Irish tourist on safari in Kenya recently got a little more than he bargained for when a cheetah leaped through the window of the jeep he was traveling in at the time.

It happened in the Masai Mara game reserve. There they were, driving along on a safari trip, when the cheetah leaped through the window and right on to the back seat, right next to Mickey McCaldin.

Tweet translation: Surprise for a tourist on a safari in Kenya.
The big cat then crept up to him until it was barely a foot away from his rather nervous face. McCaldin was concerned that the cheetah might want to creep into his lap and curl up. His expression in the image below says it all.In the meantime, it seems the rest of the family were happy to climb up on the soft-top of the jeep, gazing out at the vista surrounding them.
Tweet translation: A cheetah surprised a tourist on safari in the Masai Mara reserve.
According to, cheetahs are considered to be the less threatening of the big cat family, although they have been known to attack in the past, so it was a rather nerve-wracking experience.

In the current standoff, McCaldin's friend, David Horsey, took a series of photos of the tense standoff between his pal and the cheetah. Horsey, 62, has lived in Mombasa, Kenya all his life and says he has never seen anything quite like this.

"The cheetah just wasn't scared of getting up close and personal."

"At first Mickey was really relaxed but I think he was quite concerned it might try and sit in his lap."

"Unlike a domestic cat, you certainly don't want that."

McCaldin told the BBC that at the time the rest of the family were on the roof of the vehicle and he sat very still and quiet. But then he realized the young cat wanted to join the rest of its cheetah family and seemed to be heading right for him.
"He decided that the way to join his family on the roof was via the interior of the jeep."

"Initially when he was coming on-board I was quite happy to see him, but then he got to within six or nine inches of me and began to hiss."

"I suddenly realized these weren't tame animals."

The apparently friendly cheetah was part of a family of well-known cheetahs, whose mother is named Malaika. The group had noticed the family following them a couple of days before and had observed that the family hadn't had a kill for some time.

According to Horsey the cat family had been looking for a gazelle for a few days with no luck but appeared to be used to humans and almost tame.

"As we'd been around for a couple of days, I think they were used to the jeep so the mum jumped on top to get a better view."

"I think the other cheetah tried to follow her up but went a different way."

Once the cheetah got bored of looking at McCaldin and exploring the vehicle, it turned away from him, looking out of the window for a few moments. It then jumped out and ran away.

McCaldin had no doubt been holding his breath while the big cat was in the car and was probably relieved when it left.

Cheetah on the roof of a safari jeep

While Horsey hadn't heard of something like this happening before, it seems it did back in October 2014 and that occurrence was also in the Masai Mara.

The video below shows the other tourist's experience with a cheetah jumping in the jeep. Maybe it's the same family. Who knows! The big cat certainly looked quite comfortable, exploring the jeep and looking at the people inside it.

In other news on the Inquisitr, a safari guide wasn't so lucky when he encountered a leopard on the road in Kruger National Park. He unfortunately had his arm draped out of the window at the time and the big cat attacked him. It turns out the leopard had been injured in a fight with another leopard and unfortunately he was then run over and killed by two vehicles.