Getting up close and personal with a wild cat is the ultimate goal for any safari goer, but this man got a lot more than he bargained for when a cheetah got a little too close for comfort. The tourists can’t help but try to maintain their composure as the feline leaps into their jeep. The amazing moment was captured on film, and it’s nothing short of thrilling!
When a cheetah climbed into the car of wildlife photographer Peter Heistein and his stepson Britton Hayes, they were leading a safari group through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. While Heistein captured the incredible moment on film, Hayes is hardly able to maintain his composure as the wild cat comes within inches of him.
“We were all watching the cheetah in front of us, and one of the brothers had flanked around the back and hopped into the back of the vehicle,” Hayes said. “He came to sniff us out and make sure we weren’t a threat,” says the narrator.
Even though the experience lasted only a few moments, Hayes credits the tour guide with assisting him in remaining calm during the unexpected event.
“Alex [the guide] made sure I never made eye contact with the cheetah or startled it, allowing the animal to see that we could trust it,” the man explained. “I felt like I had to clear my mind of any thoughts because from everything you’ve heard about predators like that, they can sense fear and any sort of discomfort you’re feeling and react accordingly.”
The curious feline wandered into the savanna after inspecting the car for nearly a minute. Thankfully, no one was injured, and the tourists even laughed about it afterward.
“To be honest, it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life at the time.” Hayes said, “I was terrified to death, but I’ve never felt more alive. Everyone in the car just stared at each other for a few seconds as the cheetahs walked away, and we couldn’t believe we got out of it, that it was real.”
The terrifying moment can be seen in the video below!