Day 24–Rain, Rain and More rain

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The first day of spring and it was … raining. The tour guides cooked up a storm for us last night and we were hoping for some sun today but alas it was not to be. It was the worst kinda of rain. Not pelting down so you just write off the whole day, curl up on the couch and watch movies. The on again, off again drizzle that gets your hopes up. You go far enough away from shelter for it to rain all over you.

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In one of those breaks we went and visited Upendu and Ubuntu. Upendo was ready for a bit of play but Ubuntu was nice and cosy in her new straw in her house.

Were supposed to go walking with Zinkle today but with the rainy weather we decided to leave it till our last chance tomorrow.

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We did get to feed the lions today. The boys were loving their meat and didn’t want to share.

Day 22 and 23–Rain, Rain Go Away

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It’s been raining for 2 days. The kind of rain that’s quite annoying. It rains a bit, stops. You think you’re good and go outside for it to start up again.

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The sun decided to peek through the clouds late in the afternoon so we decided to take advantage of some nice afternoon light and visit the very wet cheetahs.

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Zinkle was sitting out in the rain and was after some wet cheetah cuddles.

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Luckily I’m already wearing my permanently stained with muddy lion cuddles pants so no-one will notice.

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Next we went to visit Gia, who was in too much of a playful mood and came running out of her house.

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Bit too playful for us so we went and got the cheetah lure to wear her out a bit.

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It is totally amazing to see how much she loves this already and totally refocuses her wanting to play with you to playing with the toy.

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After a few runs she comes to you and plops at your feet for a breather.

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After she’s caught her breath she stands up and stands near the ball and looks at you – I want to go again.

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After a few more laps – down again…catches her breath and then AGAIN!

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The light is fading and we want to visit Ola before the sun goes down but Gia doesn’t want us to take the toy…hmmm…this could be interesting. Luckily one of the other volunteers wants to play so we happily hand it over and make it their problem…lazy I know.

We went to see Ola who was in a friendly mood. Sometimes she is happy to just site and watch you but today she walked up to say hello and get some scratches before she went and found a nice spot to lie down as the sun set.

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Poked our heads into Ubuntu and Upendu at last light and they are as cute as ever.

day 21–Taking the Cheetah For A Walk

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Today was a bit miserable – cold, overcast and threatening to rain.

After the morning feed we gave the servals some new hay for their beds. Each group inspected the new bed for approval. Ubuntu and Upendu decdided they weren’t quite happy about the location of the couch etc. The moved their own water tray outside and decide to also make a day bed by moving some of the hay outside.

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Chuck and Norris were having a good play near the fence today.

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This afternoon Zintle got to go out walking with a client.

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The girls got her gear together.

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She was very excited to get her K9 harness on (shh…don’t tell her …she can’t read).

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Then up in the truck with a bit of food encouragement.

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And she’s off…

We’ve got an extra volunteer who just arrived after a long flight from London and got bombarded with a feeding session in the first 10 mins she was here.

Day 19&20–Hanging with the cheetahs

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Thursday was showery so didn’t really take any photos so combining posts.

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After the morning feed we took advantage of the gorgeous light with Diesel.

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He was a bit too playful so we didn’t stay long. We moved onto Ola who was quite content to lay in her grass and have her picture taken.

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Finished up the morning with Zinkle who was a little more active at first.

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and not content with just having per photo taken.

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After a few pics she demanded some scractches from both of us before plopping down in the sun for a morning snooze.

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Before lunch we filled a few soft drink bottles with carrot and apple and put it in with the meerkats (after removing mum).

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They weren’t as interested in the go pro as I thought they would be.

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They had great fun with it but loved the eggs more.

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We had to dig it out in the end.

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Hopped in with the caracals who aren’t very friendly.

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Evening we stopped in with Zintle, Ola and Gia to get some more afternoon light shots.

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Finished up with the lions Chuck and Norris who were fairly active in the cool of the afternoon.

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day 19–Playing Chasey with the Cheetah

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This morning we were left to prep and feed the cheetahs by ourselves. Must say they are way scarier when they are hungry and you’re the one having to toss the chicken to them.

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After our chores Diesel was looking a lot more friendly so we went in to introduce ourselves and take a few pictures. He had other ideas, he just wanted to sit on me and get patted and did not want me to move.

Had a pretty cruisy day and caught up on a bunch of work emails ate some lunch etc.

Then it was time to give the cheetah lure a go. Back in 2007 we met Joe from Aussie Dog who makes awesome toys for animals and we always like to take one with us.

As we didn’t know how the cheetah were going to react to someone pulling a giant red ball we opted to let the experienced guide Marlene take first go.

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Gia didn’t know what to make of it at first but was totally fixated on the red ball.

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Soon she was chasing it across the enclosure.

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Then it was John’s turn to take a run through the cheetah enclosure with a full grown cheetah who can do 0-90km/hr in 3 seconds in tow.

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Gia was quite clever though and once she’d had one go at it she didn’t bother chasing him down to the end….she knew he’d come back and just waited on her mound and waited for the red ball to come past.

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Then we was done and wanted pats instead…such a cutie.

Day 18 – Cruisy Intro to the Cats

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Up for a 7am start. Cut, powder and feed the cheetahs and prep meat for the other cats for the afternoon. Done…

Bit of a break till 9am..where we go an clean the enclosures which is fairly easy when these cats have certain spots they like to use.

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Everyone is looking a bit sleepy so we head to the meerkats who are always full of life.

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Mum can be a bit cranky though.

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Have lots of spare time so we jump in with one of the Servals Upendo.

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She’s pretty friendly and comes for a pat before handing out in her favourite bush.

After checking a few times we go and introduce ourselves to Gia a very good looking cheetah.

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The boys Chuck and Norris are close by and posing for us as they want pretty photos taken of them too.

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Everyone is looking a bit sleepy again so we go have a bit of a lie down while it’s really warm.

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Gia is a bit more playful in the afternoon and has taken to John so we take the opportunity of friendly kitty and good light if we can get her to cooperate.

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She keeps facing her back to the sun so John is trying to direct her so we get her in good light and her best side.

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Much better…

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Seems see listened well….

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and why not try her other side just to be sure.

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And now they’re just hanging together watching the cars go past.

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And then she looks a bit sad when we leave but she’s getting a bit playful in the cool afternoon.

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Finish off the afternoon back with Upendo.

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She’s also enjoying the cool afternoon wind.

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Day 17–To Daniell Cheetah Project

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We didn’t need to be in Port Elizabeth till midday so it meant we could take our time or sleep in this morning. We chose to leave the park slowly, through the park.

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Up early for a drive just after sunrise around a few of our favorite spots in search of some more animals to cross off our bingo list. Hoping for lion in front of a blazing sun but had to settle for some kudo and zebra.

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Almost 8:30 so we head back to camp to grab our things and fill up and there they were – 2 lions making their way across the park.

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There’s a bit of a loop so we do a quick U-turn to catch them and then get in front of them as the move towards the fence.

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Back at the camp I mark up the lion on the board and chat to some people who’ve just been on a game drive and seen bugger all.

Then we head out. We’ve got 3 hours – should be enough time to drive 60k….

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That is based on our experience of seeing hardly any elephants.

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Today, it seems that the other 290 elephants have come to say hello and hang out on every road.

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On one of our last loops avoiding elephant to get out of the park we saw some kudo fighting and  cross off another animal – Puff Adder – didn’t think we’d see one of these.

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We make one last detour to go around these elephants cause the people on the other side were having too much fun.

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Then to the airport to drop off our car and get picked up. Quick trip the the supermarket for some food for the week before heading to our home for he next 10 days.

Quick tour around to meet all the animals, then cook some dinner and time to crash.