“Don’t come to us. Don’t come to us,” Jennifer Shimek, who has lived in Union County for about seven years, repeated in the video.
Shimek shot the video last month while on vacation with her family in Tanzania. While most people would never want to get that close to an animal that has claws, fangs and can run faster than a sports car can accelerate, Shimek savored the encounter.
“It was the best thing I ever saw,” Shimek told NJ Advance Media. “We felt pretty lucky and amazed that we saw it.”
Her two teenage daughters could be heard giggling in the background as they listened to their mother’s reactions. “Oh em gee,” Shimek can be heard saying in the video.
The cheetah even lays down on the roof of the jeep at one point. She didn’t have the opportunity to talk to those who were inside the vehicle after all were in the clear.
Shimek’s fear was that the cheetah would come to her vehicle just a few cars back.
“I was worried for them, but I was also worried for all of us,” she said. “I mean, this thing was on the vehicle in no amount of time."
The tour guide told Shimek that she should sit completely still if the animal came her way. Luckily, the animal jumped down and ran away.
The family stayed in Serengeti National Park and were up-close to animals for the duration to their trip. They had witnessed two tigers days earlier fighting over a buffalo and were blown away when they saw that.
But the cheetah encounter was the most memorable. She said she’d go back again and recommended others a vacation in the Serengeti if they ever got an opportunity.
“It’s so beautiful there,” Shimek said. “It was an amazing experience.”