Saturday. Having already fed the ducks in Strand and eaten pancakes at the Root 44 market, Chantelle, the kids and I next jetted off through Stellenbosch and along the R44, until we reached the next destination on our epic weekend of family activities – the Giraffe House wildlife awareness center.
There we met up with Evan, Natasha and Evalynne, and with our tickets bought and monies handed over, we were handed a plastic bucket of feed and let loose upon the animal sanctuary.
The star of the show is without a doubt the hand reared Gerry the giraffe (which actually ate out of Evan’s hand!), but the Giraffe House also plays home to a variety of other African wildlife examples, like eland, ostriches, springbok, crocodiles, meerkats, llama, small deer, foxes, flamingoes, caracal and of course a plethora of farmyard animals, including the odd pony or two – perfect feeding targets for the little ones in other words!
It took Jessica a little while to get into it, but once she had gotten the hang of it no goat was safe from her holding out a handful of pellets, letting the goat eat out of her hand, and then laughing her head off as if this was the funniest thing in the world!
Evalynne and Jessica soon got into a competition in terms of trying to show each other all the wonderful animal discoveries they were making, and with a little breeze keeping us cool on a rather warm day, we ambled (and were occasionally pulled) around the sanctuary for a pretty decent while!
The Giraffe House also houses the odd snake or two, and as such they have a short reptile show a couple of times a day. They have a nice little pavilion theater going to allow for the best views of the encounter, and with a wonderfully charming and humorous animal wrangler by the name of Pieter leading the show, this quickly turns out to be the highlight of the day’s outing!
Of particular surprise to me was just how brave Jessica suddenly became, going so far as to volunteer alongside the other kids to hold the big albino python at the end of the show. (Apparently she still thinks that it wasn’t a real snake which may just explain the bravery away, but nevertheless, I was suitably impressed and proud of my little girl!)
As for me, I too had an encounter which I never thought I would ever have – as a hapless volunteer I had a live, hairy tarantula plonked down in my hands!
And if that wasn’t a freaky enough of a first time experience, I then got a “facebook” photo opportunity… i.e. the tarantula was unceremoniously put on my face!! (It is a pretty weird sensation for sure, but surprisingly enough, not actually all that bad.)
Will I purposefully put a tarantula on my face given the opportunity ever again though? Probably not! Will we visit the Giraffe House sometime in the future again? Most definitely yes!
Related Link: http://www.giraffehouse.co.za/