During one of his breaks from school, a college student from Seattle went on a safari in the Serengeti. The group’s goal was to watch any wild animals they saw, but they knew they had to stay away from them.
One cheetah, though, ended up getting very close to the group, which was a scary moment that Britton handled very well.
When Britton Hayes and his tour group went on a Grand Ruaha Safari to the Serengeti, they saw three Cheetah brothers hunting in the Gol Kopjes.
As they got closer to the wild cats, one of the brothers decided that he wanted to get a closer look at them himself.
We started to notice the cheetahs became curious of the vehicle,
But it was too late to drive quickly away or anything like that because you don’t want to startle the animals, because that’s when things usually go wrong.
While Hayes and the other tourists were looking at the cheetah on the hood, a third cheetah jumped through the window and into the backseat, right behind Hayes.
This is not at all a common occurrence.
He went on to say that, of course, no one had really thought that it would really happen.
One of the cheetahs hopped onto the hood and was sniffing around, so we were all focused on the cheetah on the hood that was looking around,
While we were all watching the cheetah in the front, one of the brothers had flanked around the back and hopped in back of the vehicle to try and sniff us and make sure that we weren’t a threat.
Hayes panicked at first, which was a natural reaction. Luckily, his safari guide was able to keep Hayes and the rest of the group calm in the face of danger.
Peter Heistein, who was also on the trip, took pictures of the whole thing with the camera on his smartphone.
The safari guide told Hayes to slow down his breathing, keep his eyes closed, and let the cheetah sniff around until he was done “exploring.” Keeping calm would show the animals that he could be trusted.
Honestly, it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life while it was happening. I felt like I had to clear my mind of any thoughts because from everything you’re told about predators like that, they can sense fear and any sort of discomfort you’re feeling and they’ll react accordingly,
I wanted to be as calm and as still as possible to avoid a bad outcome.
Hayes thought it would be best for everyone if he didn’t tell his mom, Elisa Jaffe, who works as a news anchor at KOMO in Seattle, about his situation until he was back home and no longer in danger.
I was worried that [she] might freak out and would’ve forced me to come home. So I figured it’s best to not have [he]) worry, when there’s not much you can do about it when I’m that far away,
To say that Hayes and the other people in the group were glad when the cheetah finally decided to leave would be an understatement.
The sheer tension of sitting in a vehicle thinking, ‘I’m going to die,’ and then living. We just, everyone in the car just looked at each other, we paused for 10 seconds as the cheetahs walked away and we couldn’t believe that we got out of the situation, that it was real,
After a while, when everyone’s bodies had had a chance to relax, everyone started laughing. It was a scary close call, and it’s amazing to see how calm Britton stayed through the whole thing.