An Irish tourist on safari in Kenya received quite a shock then a cheetah hopped into the back seat of a jeep that was driving through the African plains.

In the vehicle, the wild cat sauntered over to Irishman Mickey McCaldin until it was barely a foot away from his face, reports the Daily Mail.

David Horsey, a family friend, captured photos of the tense standoff between the cheetah and McCaldin.

Horsey, 62, from Mombasa, Kenya, said: 'I've been living in Kenya all my life and I've never seen anything like this.

'The cheetah just wasn't scared of getting up close and personal. At first Mickey was really relaxed but I think he was quite concerned it might try and sit in his lap.

'Unlike a domestic cat, you certainly don't want that.'

The pictures were taken on June 12. The group was tracking a well-known family of cheetahs, whose mother is called Malaika.

They had followed the cheetahs for a couple of days previously, and had observed that the family hadn't had a kill for several days.

Horsey said: 'The family had been looking for a gazelle for a few days with no luck.

'As we'd been around for a couple of days, I think they were used to the jeep so the mum jumped on top to get a better view.

'I think the other cheetah tried to follow her up but went a different way.

'Once it had got bored of Mickey it turned away and looked out of the vehicle for a few minutes.

'It just jumped out afterwards.'

McCaldin was traveling with his wife and sister, who are friends of David Horsey and his wife Vicky.

Said Horsey: 'Me and Vicky have lived in Kenya all our lives but we never feel the urge to leave.

'People always ask us where we're going on holiday and it's always around the game reserves. 

'You never know what you're going to come across - just like this.'

A cheetah gets up close and personal with Irish tourist Mickey McCaldin.David Horsey/Caters News