Skip to main content

Impala escapes cheetahs by leaping into tourists' car

By Chuck Thompson, CNN
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Quick-witted impala in South Africa evades cheetahs by leaping into an SUV full of tourists
  • Event captured on video by safari tourist
  • Tourist: "We saw the impala jump out of the bushes then someone started screaming, 'It is in the car!"

(CNN) -- A sharp-witted impala in South Africa's Kruger National Park evaded almost certain death when it came up with a novel escape plan.

In the midst of being hotly pursued by a pair of cheetahs, the impala leaped though the open window of an SUV filled with safari tourists.

The thrilling chase and bold escape were captured on video by a South African tourist in a companion vehicle.

"We started freaking out, going crazy; we couldn't believe it, we were absolutely dumbstruck," said 20-year-old Samantha Pittendrigh, who shot the video on July 5.

"All of a sudden we saw the impala jump out of the bushes and then someone started screaming, 'It is in the car! It is in the car!'

"People in other cars screamed 'Open the door! Open the door!'"

One of the passengers in the vehicle did just that.

The impala calmly exited the opposite side of the car within seconds of jumping into it.

The mystified cheetahs, meanwhile, abandoned the hunt as soon as their prey had bounded into the vehicle. They watched passively from the bushes as the crafty impala bolted to safety in the brush.

"My family are so jealous," said Pittendrigh. "In all the years my parents have been going to Kruger Park they have never seen anything like it and we do go regularly.

"It really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we managed to be in the right place at the right time."

Read more: School boy's wildlife-tracking website helps tourists spot big beasts

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:56 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, these itineraries make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 4:58 AM EDT, Tue July 29, 2014
Good cocktails combine with spectacular views across rivers, cityscapes and oceans at these bird-level drinkeries.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 10:26 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Cinema loves portraying the lives of expats. Sometimes it gets it right. Sometimes it casts Nick Nolte as a jungle king.
updated 9:17 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Don't be intimidated, says a local expert. Here's how to do China without the hassles
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
When your city has an unenviable reputation for insulting tourists and fleecing them for every cent, inviting hotel guests to pay what they want could be a risky move.
updated 3:10 AM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
1937 Auto Union V16 Streamliner, Audi Museum, Germany
With factory tours and collections of stunning vintage prototypes, southern Germany is petrolhead paradise.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Every tourist destination has a flip side, a season when prices go down and savvy, flexible travelers can score big savings.
updated 3:11 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A Marrakech lamp bazaar
Morocco's Red City is crammed with stunning gardens, shaded souks and steamy bath houses.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Santo Stefano Island, Italy
Pristine beaches, unspoiled nature and few tourists -- a stretch on these former penal colonies is no longer a punishment.
updated 5:23 AM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
Life in Joburg can be stressful. Luckily there are some exceedingly non-stressful places close by.
updated 5:07 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Istanbul skyline
CNN's Ivan Watson pays homage to the city he's called home for the past 12 years.
China notches up another superlative achievement as a Nanjing-based artist creates the world's largest and longest anamorphic painting.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
In what is undoubtedly the world's "coolest" surf video, photographer Chris Burkhard endures freezing temperatures, blizzards and injury to capture Arctic waves and their riders.
updated 11:39 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Few airline routes are as cutthroat as the one that travels between London and New York. It is the world's busiest route and there are few lengths airlines won't go to in the hopes of getting a piece of the action.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT