A group of American tourists on an African Safari had the wildlife get a little too close for comfort when a cheetah jumped into their car.
Britton Hayes was on a safari in the Gol Kopjes of the Serengeti in Tanzania watching a group of three cheetahs when one of the wild animals turned the tables and took an interest in their vehicle. Footage of the incident shows the moment that one of the cheetahs jumps into the backseat of the safari vehicle, forcing those inside to remain frozen in place for 10 minutes as the animal explored its unfamiliar surroundings.
“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,” Hayes told KOMO News.
Hayes said that he and the other members in their group were focusing on another cheetah that had jumped onto the hood of their SUV when the other cheetah jumped into the backseat. His guide, Alex, instructed the group to stay calm and not make eye contact with the cheetah or startle it.
“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,” Hayes said. “I wanted to be as calm and as still as possible to avoid a bad outcome."0comments
Despite how terrifying the situation was, Hayes says that he’s “never felt more alive.”
“I was scared to death, but I've never felt more alive. 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.”