Walking with cheetahs

We were up at 7 to enjoy a lovely breakfast at 8. Minando was to drive us back to where our car was parked (where we started the hike) in a 4×4 through a scenic pass in the park. Off we set through the pine forests in a very old 4×4. I believe it was a relic from WWII. Unfortunately we hadn’t got very far when the vehicle started to make some very strange noises. Minando stopped & started it a few times. Memories of the boat we broke down in when in Croatia a couple of years ago immediately came to mind. But we were in radio range of base & before we knew it we were picked up by a replacement van and deposited safely back to our car unfortunately though not via the scenic route!

DSC00807

DSC00810
There were ALOT of dairy farms in this area

DSC00814DSC00815

 

We were then on the way towards Plettenberg Bay. There were a few options for us today. First choice was zip lining or a visit to a wolf sanctuary. The boys chose the latter which was a surprise. Apparently there is a problem in South Africa with people breeding wolves as domestic pets or trying to interbreed them (go figure right). When they grow & show their natural instincts they are “dumped” (mmm no surprise there). This sanctuary is looking after those that are rejected. They are all neutered so no more are bred. Some, which arrived as cubs are hand fed and hence are tamer so we were able to pat them through the fence but others are quite wild and the humans try to interfere with them as little as possible. Needless to say Andrew who has always had a ‘thing’ for wolves was in his element!

DSC00817

Next stop was Storms River and the views of the gorge then Bloukrans Bridge where some very brave (aka stupid) people can throw themselves off the bridge attached to a rubber band. Needless to say none of us wanted to partake so we were hoping to watch some other idiots but alas we were out of luck.

DSC00820DSC00821DSC00823

We then drove through to Tenikwa in The Crags which is a big cat sanctuary. I had rung ahead and booked a tour where we could go into the cat enclosures (except the leopard) then walk with the cheetah. When we arrived, we had a nice toasted sandwich & cold drink then it was time for our tour.

We saw a magnificent male leopard who was not camera shy, in fact he was a bit of a poser.

DSC00831

It was then time to enter the cheetah enclosure. The first cheetah we found was a female lying under a tree. It was amazing being so close to her & of course a little unnerving. We then walked about 2 metres on & there was the male just lying on the grass. AWESOME! We were watching the male when the female walked up behind us. There were two guards in the enclosure with us but I still felt nervous.

DSC00834DSC00836DSC00837

DSC00842DSC00838

We went on to see the servals and caracals, both lovely cats although the caracals are more aggressive so we didn’t go into their enclosure. We discovered that caracals are responsible for killing some 5300 sheep a day in Sth Africa and they do it for ‘sport’, they don’t actually eat the sheep.

DSC00856

 

DSC00858
Serval

 

DSC00887
Caracal

DSC00891

 

“Want to see the King & Queen?” asked our guide. We were introduced to their female lion & white male lion. Whilst we saw the lions at Hillsnek, being on the same level as these guys made me realise just how big they are. Absolutely magnificent.

 

DSC00878
Note very thin wire fence between us!

 

We finished our tour by spending time with the meerkats which were just so cute.

DSC00898DSC00892 (2)

We had quite a bit of a wait until it was time to walk with the cheetah so we filled in time by playing cards on the lovely deck while watching the birds by the lake.

DSC00825

It was finally time! They let the cheetah out of his enclosure & off he went. They try to make it as natural as possible for him by letting him lead the way & mark his scent as he went. We followed with one guard at the front and one behind. It was exhilarating although a little frustrating as you couldn’t see him all the time given that we were in single file. It was quite a hot day and the poor thing got very hot and took a few stops where he lay down and tried to cool himself off. The guard had a tin plate and bottle of water and gave the him a drink. So beautiful watching him lap it up like a normal cat!

DSC00903DSC00907ADSC00910DSC00916DSC00912DSC00929IMG_6355IMG_6367

 

DSC00864IMG_6382

After witnessing a beautiful sunset we left Tenikwa and drove straight to Plettenberg Bay & arrived at our B&B at 6. We had two lovely rooms facing onto the deck which looked over the Bay. After a quick shower we had an excellent dinner (a short drive away) at the ‘Fat Fish’.  It was then back to our B&B & off to bed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: