March 1st, 2014
My first couple of week at cheetah experience has been amazing, the people I have met from all around the world are so lovely and friendly, and it is amazing to learn so many different cultures. Riana and the staff are so helpful and caring, and they love the animals so much it is so nice to see them and the animals together and the special bonds they have.
I feel so privileged to help Riana with her dream and this project she is running, she is such an inspirational woman and not to mention the bond she has with the animals. I am so thankful I have had such an opportunity to do this and to do things I have always dreamed of.
The animals at cheetah experience have such individual personalities, my favorite animal would have to be the big leopard Zorro, not only is leopard my favourite animal but Zorro has such a cheeky and loving personality. I have spent loads of time with Zorro, one day I walked him and he was climbing on top of the cars trying to play with the side mirrors and also trying to go into the toilets to play with the towels. He is such a potentially strong animal but with people he is so gentle, I was sitting in his enclosure with him and he came over and sat on my lap it was so sweet, he loves a nice neck rub. Another one of my favourite animals is the 6 month old cheetah Gabriel, he is so playful you can run around with a toy snake for ages and he will just chase you. Gabriel is one of the cheetahs I got to sleep out with in the baby room, he is so cute sometimes he likes to bury his head between your neck and shoulders and just sleep there. One morning I woke up and he was laying next me with his head on my arm licking my hand was such an amazing feeling waking up to that. All the animals here are so sweet and different is very hard to pick favourites I love very animal here and I have shared a special moment with nearly every animal.
I will be very sad to leave in a week or two, and I will most definitely be back.
March 1st, 2014
I was so fortunate to look through my friend’s phone and come across some spectacular photos of him with cheetahs, leopards and caracals. The questions that followed and the answers he gave me are the sole reason I find myself thousands of miles away from home surrounded by fascinating animals and amazing people. All of whom contribute passionately to animal conservation.
My first day was a surreal blur, having not slept for a while when phrases like “cheetahs in the yard” were thrown about I couldn’t really fathom that there were multiple cheetahs casually walking around the place. Then someone asked who was walking the leopards today, in the most benign tone possible, further bewilderment. Now it’s hard not to take for granted the precious proximity we can have with these incredibly impressive animals.
Having lived on a farm all my life I got engrossed immediately with handling raw meat and getting sweaty and messy, this was far easier to get accustomed to than the casual remarks about cheetahs being literally everywhere. On my first afternoon it was a big feed for the lions, hurrying into the separate feeding camp with a whole cow leg whilst the three lions jostled and roared inches away from me. Simply an unbelievable experience, especially as I had only just stepped of the plane a couple of hours ago.
After this I was introduced to the two wolves, my guide told me to approach really slowly, slightly behind her. As I was new to the wolves she explained they might run away and as a tall male I could be perceived as a threat as they were raised by women. So approaching this regal wolf looking all the more grand as she was standing on a platform I was so transfixed that I took ages to reach her, my guide was really enthusiastic at this point, saying they normally run away and this was rare, she advised me to cautiously put my hand on the platform to let her sniff it, the wolf silently padded over and sniffed my hand, at this my guide was squeaking frantically saying that this never happened , the wolf then patted my hand with her paw, this was translated by my guide that she wanted attention or that I was permitted to touch her but before I could stroke her I realised the wolf was staring intently into my face, completely vulnerable staring into a wolf I was strangely calm, the composed aura this animal had was infectious and I wasn’t at all scared just transfixed then surprised when I was affectionately licked in the face by the wolf, my guide was clapping and congratulating me saying I had been accepted into the pack by the alpha female and that this has never happened so quickly for a male. I feel an incredible deep sense of privilege at this event and when it was told at the meeting and everyone applauded I had an ear to ear grin on my face and thought to myself ‘this will be a special month’.
Garth – ENGLAND
February 26th, 2014
I have been here for two weeks now and cheetah experience still amazes me. We get to help Riana on her great project and interact with loads of animals. We get to help out with all types of different task from feeding to cleaning the enclosures.
My first week here I fell in love with every animal here, especially Orion, Gabriel, Shakira and Nikita. They are all so beautiful and playful.
The last two tours I had the animals were extremely playful and it was so much fun to see them just having a good time. On my free time I just love just to lay and also play with Gaby and Orion and Faithy!
The story of faith also just blows my mind away! It’s incredible to see such a beautiful cheetah that has been through so much still running around in the yard chasing Eden or a toy!
Cheetah experience is absolute a beautiful place to be and I can’t wait for more memories with these animals and even the other volunteers.