Morkel Erasmus is an incredibly talented wildlife photographer whose motivation is easy to explain: he loves Africa. He loves its people, its wild places and its wildlife.

He loves being immersed in these places, observing, and photographing the fall of light on the land and the daily lives of the creatures that call it home, and presenting the results to whoever will take a look.

If you’d like to take a look, you can find his work on 500px, his website, his blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

It was a lovely morning in the Mara Triangle, part of the greater Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. I was hosting a photographic safari to witness the Great Migration for Wild Eye, a leading African photographic travel provider.

We had already spent some quality time with magnificent lions and elephants that morning, when our guide received a call that a female cheetah had been spotted. The choice was easy—I instructed our guide to make his way straight to the sighting.


As we got there, I could see that our timing could not have been better. She was cautiously stalking a Thomson’s gazelle that was grazing close to our vehicle.

I made sure the guests who were with me in the vehicle had the optimal settings dialed in on their cameras to capture the blistering action of a cheetah hunt… f/8, 1/3200, ISO1000… and we watched and waited.


Suddenly she burst forth at speed, catching the poor gazelle unawares. As a photographer you always hope the action would take place at a suitable distance for the lens you have on… in most cases the chase ends up quite far from you and even an 800mm lens may not be enough.

In this case, my 500mm was just-just too much as the gazelle opted to run past our vehicle to our left, and the cheetah followed. My guests with their 400mm lenses were in prime position to capture the ensuing struggle.

Shutters rattled off, dust flew, as the daily tussle of the circle of life played out in front of our viewfinders:

The cheetah tackled the gazelle and grabbed it.

The gazelle wrested free once again… almost free.

The cheetah grabbed him again, this time properly.

Paw goes to rump.

Jaw goes to jugular.

Gripping Stuff by Morkel Erasmus on

The struggle weakens.

The kicking stops.


The predator can rest.


These things are hard to observe, for sure. If the gazelle escapes, the cheetah goes hungry—if that happens enough, she will starve. It’s tough out here in the African bush, but that’s what we love about it: a harsh and unforgiving place that is filled with beauty and wonder and splendor around every corner.

If you want to experience the thrill of photographing the wonder of the African natural world, get in touch and let us make your dreams come true! More info at

P.S. The photo “Gripping Stuff” has just been awarded as First Runner Up in the category “Wild Cats of Africa” in the inaugural Nature’s Best Africa Photographic Awards of 2015.