Cheetahs never prosper ...

Trip Start Dec 17, 2007
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12
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Trip End Jan 19, 2008


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Flag of Namibia  ,
Saturday, January 5, 2008

5th Jan - Otjitongwe Campsite & Cheetah Park, Northern Namibia, 19.5919S 15.0681E Alt1324.5m
Licked by a Cheetah
Keywords - Water fight, Piracy on the road - Africa Adventure attack, Cheetah reserve, Puppy and Cheetah, Hard Lessons to learn when young, "Are you for real", Purring, Licked Puku Steaks, Forest Fires, Dry Storms
We rise at 6:00am for an early start (at this stage this is more a normal start... but with the heat of the day after 9:30am getting all the morning chores done in the cool of early morning is a blessing) ... After a short drive we reach a small dustry town with an inordinate number of bottle stores and little else except a bakery and a few curio stores purporting to have internet but really this is just to draw you in ... it worked on me as I end up buyingmy first piece of Africrap ... a wooden sculpture cartved out of what looks a little like bog Oak ...
We head straight to the bakery and indulge ourselves in some very good cakes and very poor coffee ... afterward Wil finds a store that sells super squirter guns .... so a water fight ensues ... much to the amazement and amusement of the locals ... in this heat being drenched by a water gun is a welcome relief ... as we drive out of the town we pass the Africa Adventure truck and they get a full broadside from all our mighty canons ... avast ... we should have sent boarders to steal their (rather ample and attractive) women ...
After another long hot drive we arrive at a Cheetah reserve with an unpronouncable name .. to our amazement the Africa Adventure truck pulls in about 30 minutes later ... I find myself wondering "What dastardly revenge awaits us ?" ... a little while later we meet them at the bar as we wait to be taken to the Cheetahs ... they are a very nice bunch ... which is good because shortly afterward about 24 of us are piled into back of a Landcruiser with a trailer for the excess persons ... and a big mysterious black bin in the middle ...
Initially we are taken to see 3 "tame" cheetahs ... the idea of the Cheetah park is to provide rehabiliation for outcast or injured animals ... these 3 majestic cats are extrmely used ot humans and we play in the garden of the farm with them ... now I should point out that playing with a cat is one thing ... if it gets pissed off it may scratch you ... big deal you pop by your local GP for a tetanus injection ... and these Cheetahs are doing a bloody good impression of a domestic ... as I pet him he purrs softly (thankfully) ... but you do need to repect the fact that these animals are the worlds fastest and one of the more highly efficient hunters ... if they don't like you they could decide to make life very miserable ... and it won't be the GP you'll be seeing it will be the plastic surgeon and thats if you are lucky!! At you point I'm on my belly on the grass shooting one of the cats when another pops over to investigate and to my horror I find myself starting upward face to face with a Cheetah ... thankfully he is just playing and to my relief he starts to lick my leg and then my hands as I give him a good scratch ... his toungue feels like sand paper ... a few minutes later we get a stark reminder that these animals are to be respected ... The farmer also has a young puppy no taller than about 20cm ... he is a brave little dog and when large chunks of donkey are placed on the grass for the Cheetahs he proceeds to bark at one of the cats ... who runs away!! ... the little dog then starts eating the meat ... this is fine but a short while later he tried the same stunt again but this time with one of the other cats ... I have a great photo of the dog and cat staring it out as if the cat is saying - "Are you for f**king real??!!" ... This time the cat take a gentle swipe at the puppy with its paw and he runs whimpering out of sight ... Thankfully the puppy is fine ... but this is a lesson best learned young if you are going to raised in a Cheetah farm ...
After lunch we are piled into the Trailblaiser again and driven off to the Cheetah reserve ... I find out that the bin I have be sitting on is in fact full of bits of dead donkey to feed the wild cats ... As we drive through the reserve first one, then another, then 2 more, then 1 one Cheetahs begin to stalk our vehicle ... I can't help but feel this truck load of tourists must seem a bit like food to the Cheetahs ... the famers come to the middle of the truck and trialer and open the food ... it now starts to get a bit scary are the Cheetahs circle the vehicle very quickly making rather worrying noises ... they toss the food in the air and what ensues is pretty amazing as the Cheetahs jostle for position and fight each other for food ... our earlier tame Cheetah experience is not brought into start contrast ... these guys won't play with humans ... they may east them though!!! ... but to be fair they are wonderfully stunning animals ... and the experience is one I will never forget.
When we get back to the camp Joe has cooked a surprise ... Puku steaks ... and they are amazing, not as gamey as you'd think but wonderfully tender ... we settle in to dinner watching a massive forest fire in some distant mountain range ... and can't help but wonder if our camp fire is wise in this dry place ...
Later as we go to bed we are treated to the nightly dry storm ... normally in the tropics a big wind proceeds a torrential down pour ... the same applies in these arid parts but in this case it is so hot and dry that the torrent barely reaches the ground ... and you end up with a mighy wind, a big storm above your head and a few spits of rain ... quite an experience!!
 
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Comments

fhealy
fhealy on

Shooting Cheetahs
When you say '...I'm on my belly on the grass shooting one of the cats when another pops over to investigate ...' I couldn't help thinking of an interview of Prince Philip in which, when pressed by a reporter about whether he ever shot a lion he denied it but said he shot 'at' a lion and..'...I only grazed it'...

Sounds great! Almost as good as the sausage factory :-)

san2dan
san2dan on

big kittens
I really envy you being able to touch all the fantastic big cats, it must be a really amazing experience. Just looking at the photos they all seem so tame and accessible but I guess it could all go horribly wrong with one false move.
Sandie

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