The battle between predator and prey is an intricate and essential part of the natural world. Predators need to capture and consume prey in order to survive, while prey employ various strategies to evade capture and ensure their own survival. Today some of our guests were privileged to witness a true game of chess between this male cheetah and waterbuck calf.

As we came across the sighting, it had seemed that the cheetah had separated the calf from its herd by chasing the calf into a small waterhole, not giving the calf a chance to escape. While the waterbuck did not seem, initially at least, to be bothered being submerged in the icy water, the waiting game had clearly started………….We witnessed how the cheetah would stalk around the fringes of the waterhole to try and provoke movement, and how the waterbuck would to swim to the other side of the waterhole hoping to get a chance to flee back to the safety of its herd that were on a nearby hillside, watching intently.

Said Josh Maritz, the photographer who captured these amazing images: “After around 2 hours in the water, the waterbuck calf seemed to become more anxious to join its herd. I noticed that the cheetah had changed its tactic from trying to chase the waterbuck out of the waterhole to one of remaining hidden and out of sight. About 30 minutes later, it looked to me as if the waterbuck thought that the coast was clear and that the cheetah had left the scene. The waterbuck slowly walked out of the water, only to find the cheetah lying in ambush about 5 metres away. The calf must have been fairly weak because it only managed to run about 30 metres before being caught by the cheetah. Whilst nature can appear cruel to us, I am aware of how privileged I was to witness, and photograph, nature at its primeval best.”

Take a look at the series of images captured by Photographer, Josh Maritz. The series shows how the waiting and hunt unfolded.

In search of more reading? Here’s a traditional Zulu story on how they believe a cheetah got its ”tear” marks.