Kenya's Masai Mara is one of the best places to witness a cheetah hunt. One of our regular guests, Trish Monck, was lucky enough to capture this thrilling cheetah hunt on video. And there's something unique about this famous cheetah coalition in the Mara, and the way they hunt.

Over the last few years, a famous coalition of five adult cheetah males has become a regular sighting in Kenya's flagship game reserve, the beautiful Masai Mara. Originally named the Tano Bora coalition (meaning Magnificent Five in the local Maa language of the Maasai tribe), one of the five males was pushed out of the coalition some time ago, leaving a coalition of four males (now renamed Nne Bora which means Magnificent Four).

If you watch the video of the hunt below, you will notice that unlike when a single cheetah hunts, which might single out a young antelope, this powerful coalition show no interest in the young topi antelope, which are much easier to bring down. They go for fully grown adults. They've been seen bringing down fully grown wildebeest, which are far bigger than an adult cheetah.

Why do they do this? Because they can. There is strength in numbers. A baby antelope does not provide enough meat for all of them, and this ambitious coalition has mastered the art of bringing down animals much larger than themselves.

Watch the hunt below. Special thanks to our return guest Trish Monck who kindly shared this incredible sighting with us and allowed us to publish her video.

Watch: Cheetah coalition hunts down adult topi

On this particular morning, the guide was in position early (he has been following this coalition for years and usually knows exactly where to find them).

"The day before, we had followed them the whole day and watched about five failed attempts," said Monck. The highly experienced guide knew exactly when a hunt was likely to succeed, and positioned the vehicle in advance.

Notice how the young topi antelope are ignored by the cheetah, as they single out an adult animal and chase it down. This coalition has been observed working together strategically, sometimes with one cheetah stalking or lying in wait, while the others give chase.

Topi antelopes are very fast, but no animal can outrun a cheetah over a short distance. The key to success for the cheetahs is to get close enough so the chase is over quickly, as cheetahs do not have the stamina to keep running at top speed for more than a few seconds. This is sometimes difficult to do on the wide open plains of the Mara, but in this case the long grass helped.

Once they reach the prey, it takes several cheetahs to bring down such a big antelope. Witnessing a hunt is dramatic and it can be emotional to see the raw cruelty of nature, where the death of one ensures the survival of others. It's the circle of life, and it remains very special to see one of Africa's most endangered predators in action.

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The same coalition, back in October 2019.

(Image: Onne Vegter)

We've been privileged to see and photograph this coalition several times. Back in 2019, when there were five males in the coalition, we watched them hunt in the rain, which provided some spectacular photographic opportunities.

Masai Mara cheetahs
(Image: Onne Vegter)

The Masai Mara is such a special place, and safaris here are always rewarding. The photographic opportunities are endless and the game viewing is almost always excellent.

If you'd like to visit the Mara with an expert guide, get in touch with us. We'll design a custom safari itinerary to suit your exact requirements.

We'd love to hear about your favourite safari destination or wildlife sighting. Please leave a comment below.

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About the author


Onne Vegter is the managing director of Wild Wings Safaris. He has a deep love for Africa's people, wildlife and natural heritage. Onne has travelled to most of Africa's top safari destinations and his writing is based on years of personal experience in the safari industry. Follow him on Twitter at @OnneVegter.