Tag Archives: sanctuary

Cubs at Cheetah Outreach in Paardevlei, Somerset West (2017-04-23) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 MAY 2017

Twenty years strong now, Cheetah Outreach (now at Paardevlei as opposed to their original Spier stomping grounds) continues their mission to raise awareness around, and campaign for, the survival of the free ranging Southern African cheetah.

They do this through a broad range of projects, like funding and coordinating a South African Cheetah Anatolian Shepherd Guard dog project, delivering natural science and literacy resources embracing environmental education into less advantaged schools, sponsoring teacher training workshops, supporting range research of free-ranging cheetah, and finally financing curriculum-linked school outreach trips and Bus 2 Us on site education visits.

They have a large number of hand-reared, captive born cheetahs which they use as ambassadors – acting essentially as representatives of the endangered free-ranging cheetah, which then provides the public with the opportunity to see, learn about, and then meet this majestic and fascinating species face to face.

The girls and I ambled into Cheetah Outreach one late afternoon last month, and spent some time walking around all the enclosures to take in the collection of bat eared foxes, black backed jackals, servals, caracals, meerkats, and Anatolian shepherd dogs, before heading up the amusingly named Cat Scan viewing deck to watch a couple of tourists being guided through their animal encounter session with the cheetahs.

The girls were of course totally enamoured by the two furry cheetah cubs pacing around (as well as the feeding of the bat eared foxes), though as per usual, annoyingly they found the stuffed toys of the curio shop by far the most interesting bit of all!

I was surprised to encounter Cheetah Outreach’s very unusual stance of essentially allowing you into their grounds for basically free (I paid R15 for all three of us to walk around!), meaning that if you just want to show your kids what a cheetah looks like (and go on a quick guided tour), it’s not going to cost you any real money.

Animal encounters is of course where the the actual money making happens, and there are a number of different encounters, walks and runs available to choose from.

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Animal sanctuaries/education centers that offer encounters are as always a contentious issue for a lot of people, but if you have kids like I do then undoubtedly you will appreciate the fact that they exist – teaching a child about something standing right in front of them is always going to be better than trying to explain off a printed page or some animated screen.

P.S. The lovely body of water that is the Paardevlei is currently completely dried up. So much so that there are now buck grazing where once there were flocks of flamingos!

Related Link: Cheetah Outreach

Monkey Town with Jessica Jessica | My Life 10 JAN 2012

I tried really hard to get out and about with Jessica as much as possible over my December vacation period, and one of the trips we managed to go out on was to Monkey Town, literally down the (National) road from us, and a place that neither Chantelle nor I had been to in at least three years!

Pleasingly, despite the fact that it doesn’t seem like anything has changed at all in those three years gone by, Monkey Town remains an awesome experience for the little ones (and to an extent the adults), and Jessica for one certainly enjoyed it!

For a change, Chantelle was available to join us for our little excursion, and so late morning after all the naps and feeds were dispensed with, we drove out to Monkey Town where Chantelle twisted my arm that first order of the day should be a light lunch at the pub/restaurant situated adjacent to the Monkey Town facility, overlooking the cool family braai, swim and play area that sprawls out in front of it.

After enjoying our food, next stop for the pram was Monkey Town reception, where we handed over our money, convinced the cashier that Jessica still made the cutoff for free entrance (instead of the R10 required for children over a year), grabbed a map and listened to the helpful instructions from the girl welcoming everyone in.

As luck would have it, feeding of the small monkeys had just recently taken place, meaning that all the food troughs in the massive enclosures with full of fruits and whatnot, meaning that the legion of squirrel monkeys, capuchins and lemur had been drawn out of the shade and into full view of the multitude of spectators that had braved the scorching heat in order to come monkey watching!

Jessica love being up so close and personal with the playful little monkeys, and eventually we managed to drag her away (there was no way she was going to stay stuck in the pram to watch all of this!), past the rutting tortoises, and just in time to see the handlers lure the chimpanzees out of their shady enclosure and into the outside play area island for some yummy snacks and drinks (which come in normal Energade bottles which the chimps open themselves and drink out of!).

After this it was pretty much straight into dawdle mode whilst trying to get Jessica to make monkey noises, and after a quick return to the start point to give Jessica her bottle and for us to grab something to drink, it was back along the walkways, taking in the various monkeys and lemurs that were on display in the variety of enclosures that make up Monkey Town.

To be frank, the selection of monkeys isn’t particularly huge at Monkey Town, but there are enough to be interesting and like I said before, the kids absolutely love the furry critters, meaning that even if there are a 1000 squirrel monkeys to take in, they’re certainly not going to complain!

One of the sights which I did in particular like was the up and close with the emus which Monkey Town has acquired (I think I counted about five). The male makes the most peculiar of noises when a human man (i.e. me) walks past, sounding almost like the beat of a drum! Guess I was a little bit too threatening or close to him? He certainly didn’t mind the ladies walking by, that’s for sure!

We spend a good hour and a half to two hours ambling around with Jessie and her pram, before Chantelle’s time was finally up and she needed to return to work, marking the end of our enjoyable little excursion with the carpet crawler/finger nibbler!

And based on that, I’ve got a good feeling that Monkey Town might be seeing a little more of the Lotter Clan from now on… ;)

(For more photos, visit the gallery here)

Related Link: http://www.monkeys.co.za/

Big Cat Sanctuary: Jukani Wildlife Park My Life 20 AUG 2010

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/