Violet D’Mello was visiting a big cat enclosure on a game reserve when a ‘tame’ cheetah lunged at her.
She was knocked to the floor by the hand-reared beast which then bit her head.
Violet, from Aberdeen, played dead as a guide frantically tried to pull the animal off – but she was then attacked by a second cheetah.
After several minutes, Violet was able to get to her feet and make a run for it.
“This was meant to be a holiday, but it’s really turned into a nightmare,” Violet told www.timeslive.co.za .
Violet had been holidaying with her husband Archibald at the Kragga Kamma game reserve near Port Elizabeth.
“We were told they were completely tame,” Violet said.
But their visit when badly wrong when one of the animals grabbed a child in the enclosure with another family.
And as Violet tried to stop a second child from running away, she was attacked.
Violet was treated in hospital for minor injuries.
Park manager Mike Cantor said: “It’s not something we’ve experienced before. We are investigating the matter to figure out what could have triggered the behaviour.”