Last year the animal welfare organisation Four Paws teamed up with South African Wildlife Project’s Elda Thomas and big name baker Dot Klerck to ignite the launch for their latest SA lions canned hunting awareness campaign #RiseUpAndRoar. The result? A giant lion cake which popped up in the V&A Waterfront for a couple of days in June.
Naturally, as the baker behind the best cakes in the Helderberg, Chantelle had to make a trip to see this baked marvel.
As for the girls and myself, we just wanted an excuse to go and sight-see at the Waterfront! :)
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Admittedly, it was a pretty cool cake.
So far our roadtrip through to The Crags for the first day of our Garden Route getaway to the Far Hills Country Hotel in George was going pretty well. Having spent the morning walking among the birds at the splendid Birds of Eden bird sanctuary, followed by a bite to eat and game time at the Plett Puzzle Park, we next stepped into the world of big cats with a trip to Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary.
Primarily a big cat sanctuary, the award winning Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary has been running in one form or another since 2005, originally started by Jurg and Karen Olsen in George. We’re familiar with the facility from its Mossel Bay stint between 2007 and 2013, but this was our first time visiting them at their new home in The Crags.
(Because they are now a part of the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (SAASA), which consists of Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and now Jukani, it made sense for them to move closer to the other two – despite the logistical nightmare such a move must have been!)
First off, I have to say that the new premises for the cats is fantastic! Massive enclosures, with plenty of grass and trees makes for a stunning environment in which to watch these magnificent predators go about their daily lives.
We had an excellent guide in the form of Elvis, who took our group for a lengthy tour around the sanctuary, showing off Jukani’s massive collection of lions, tigers, jaguars, mountain lions, wild dogs, cheetah, hyena, and of course… their snakes. (The only thing that we didn’t get a close up view of on the day were the leopards, mainly because they didn’t seem too keen on coming up close to us!)
For me the stars of the show were the massive tigers right at the start of the tour, but without a doubt the stand out moment of the trip was right at the end, when a massive male lion, having just finished chewing up his donkey leg, started vocalizing to let everyone know that he was now done.
Literally shivers down my spine!
Tickets are a bit on the pricey side, but this sanctuary is definitely one of the best big cat sanctuaries that I’ve ever been to, so it really is well worth a visit.
Of course, my phone camera didn’t do well with all the tree shadows and fencing to contend with, so the photos are quite poor for the most part, but hey, at least you get a good idea of what is on offer at Jukani:
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(Amazingly, the girls literally just had enough energy to finish this one off, rounding off what had been quite a day of walking for the two!)
P.S. Jukani is of course also famous for its legendary and well documented black leopard story, which essentially has a bad tempered leopard named Diablo completely transform his personality through little more than a name change to Spirit on recommendation of animal whisperer Anna Breytenbach:
Oh, and a map just in case you want to know where Jukani is now situated:
Related Link: Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
Chantelle had two days off during the entirety of my December holiday, so of course when she did finally have a day off to join us for some family fun, we immediately decided to head out for an adventure! After quick consultation, Jessica agreed – today was the day for LIONS!
From their site: “Drakenstein Lion Park was established in 1998 to provide lions in distress with sanctuary, where they could live in safety, free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserve. The Park is situated in the scenic Cape Winelands and comprises of 50 acres of sprawling lion habitat.
The Park is actively involved in improving the quality of life of lions in captivity, locally as well as internationally, either by offering these animals a lifetime home or working in conjunction with other animal welfare organizations to secure a safe future for individual animals in dire need.
The Park is not involved in commercial breeding or trade and offers lifetime care to all of it’s animals. All the animals brought to the Park are captive bred / hand reared and cannot be rehabilitated to the wild. The animals at the Park are assured a chance of living out their natural lives in an enriched and safe environment.”
Pleasingly, what they say on the website is what you see in real life. Just outside of Paarl (in fact, just down the road from Butterfly World), lies the Drakenstein Lion Park, which features seemingly endless natural habitat enclosures, populated with all manner of lions – literally from right across the world!
You can walk around for quite a long time around the park, and the organisers have seen it fit to place loads of benches, tables and umbrellas all around the place, allowing you to leisurely rest and take in as much of the lions in their natural habitat at whatever pace you choose – a nice touch if you ask me. Feeding time is at 16:00, so that’s a particularly good time of the day to go, and of course, try to avoid arriving in the middle of the day when the sun is at its hottest – unless you really, REALLY enjoy watching sleeping lions lazily lying under the plentiful trees of the park.
(Plus, they also have an enclosure with two Bengal tigers running around, not that we saw them of course, what with us having opted to arrive at the park in the middle of a hot day. See the previous point as to why this isn’t the best of plans for lion viewing).
Finally, in case seeing lions in the wild starts getting perhaps a little too boring for you, they now also feature Chimp Haven, a home for all the chimpanzees and a few other small animals that became displaced following the closure of Tygerberg Zoo a couple of years ago. (We skipped this one having just been to Monkey Town a few days ago, so I can’t really comment on Chimp Haven in the slightest. Just in case you were wondering).
Steve culled this particularly amusing image/pun off some dark corner of the Internet (pointing a finger at 9Gag), passing it on to Tristan who in turn was forced to pass it on to me.
Needless to say, this had me laughing out for a solid five minutes! :)
A whim away, a whim away, a whim away…
Two young male lions were moving through the savannah when all of a sudden the one at the rear reaches out with his tongue and licks the butt of the one in the front. The tiger in the lead yelps, turns around and says, “Hey, cut it out already!”
The other lion apologizes and the two of them continue on their way.
Five minutes later, the tiger at the rear once again reaches out with his tongue and licks the butt of the front lion. “Bloody Hell, stop with that this instant!” shouted the lead lion.
Once again the rear lion says he is sorry, and the two continue their journey.
Not five minutes later, and the rear lion once again reaches out and licks the front lion’s butt hole.
“Enough already! What’s with you, you idiot!” screams the front lion.
“Sorry, I’m really sorry. But I just ate a lawyer and I’m desperately trying to get the taste out of my mouth…”
The circus owner tells them: “I’m not going to sugar coat it. This is one ferocious lion. He ate my last tamer, so you guys better be good or you’re history. Here’s your equipment – chair, whip and a gun. So, who wants to try out first?”
The girl eagerly thrusts up her hand and says: “I’ll go first.”
Calmly, she walks past the chair, the whip, and the gun and steps right into the lion’s cage, unarmed.
The lion, on the other side of the enclosure, starts to snarl and pant, before beginning his rush at the defenseless beauty.
Just as the lion hits the halfway mark, she suddenly throws open her coat, revealing her beautiful naked body underneath.
Amazingly, the lion stops dead in his tracks, sheepishly crawls up to her and starts licking her feet and ankles. He continues to lick and smell his way across her entire body for what seems an eternity, before lying down and resting his head at her feet.
Stunned, the circus owner’s mouth is on the floor.
Turning to the man, he says: “I have never, never ever seen a display quite like that in my entire life. So mister, do you think that you can top that?”
Without skipping a beat, the older man replies: “No problem; just get that lion out of the way first though”.
On our weekend away to Pinnacle Point in Mossel Bay, Chantelle and I once again made our way through to Jukani Wildlife Park, lying just outside of its confines along the N2 highway. Now if you have never been to Jukani and you are a lover of big cats, then you had best make a plan to get there because outside of our natonal game reserves, this sanctuary remains one of the best places you’ll ever find one of the biggest collections of different cat predators all in one place.
Started back in 2005, Jukani is the realization of a dream for Jurg and Karen Olsen, people with an absolute passion for big, burly cats (and dogs by the look of their yard). The park itself covers a fairly large expanse of land and features huge fenced caged areas with plenty of natural vegetation and in which you’ll find an assortment of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, caracals, wild dogs, a honey badger and even a whole bag of snakes if you take the right corner.
All the staff are fantastic and Jukani runs tours on the hour right through the day, from information walks to the all important feeding sessions, which gives you a proper glimpse into the behaviour of these apex hunters when it comes to food.
Always a great experience and well worth the entry fee in other words! :)
And of course, being the snappy happy man that I now am, the pictures from our latest visit are all available here: http://photos.codeunit.co.za/v/20100807-Jukani-Wildlife-Sanctuary/ – nice! ;)
Related Link: http://www.jukani.co.za/
The Jukani Animal Sanctuary is a fantastic initiative that can be found just outside of Mossel Bay, its primary concern being the safe-keeping and eduction of the public in respect to big cats. And when I say big cats, I mean big cats. On the premises in huge open expanse cages they have everything from lions, Siberian tigers, jaguars, panthers, cheetahs to Bengal tigers. They even have a small reptile park going as well!
Definitely a must visit spot if you are ever in the area!
(This photo shoot comes from the weekend Chantelle and I spent in the company of Retha and Miguel over at Dad’s holiday house in Pinnacle Point in case you were wondering).
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