Whilst perusing the "What to do in the Plettenberg area" we came across the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre. Being avid cat people, this seemed like a must-visit place, especially when we found that we could do something called a "Sunset Cheetah Walk and Wild Cat Combo". Cheetah Walk? Tell me more. Well, it turns out that what you actually get is an hour or more spent in the company of an extremely knowledgeable ranger who actually took you into the large cages where the wild cats live, with one exception, the leopard. So you get the opportunity to be up close and personal with African cats, most of whom are on the "Species Endangered" lists, including a couple of awesome (sorry), 4 ½ month-old lion cubs, one of which will grow up to be a white lion, and his regular-coloured sister. And you end up going into this enormous cage with two cheetahs. Then, it's back to the main building to discuss how was that for you? But what about the Cheetah Walk.....OK, we've reached that point, the second part of the Combo. After a short safety film, it's a case of girding one's loins and following the rangers........back into the cage where the cheetahs we saw earlier live. At the ranger's call, they trot across to have their walking harnesses fitted, the door of the cage is opened and you are given a lead.....and off they go. It is emphasised that this is their walk, not yours, so you go wherever they want to go and they want to go off into the forest. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life as you would be able to tell if you could see any of the many photos that the Rangers took with our cameras. Our walk lasted about 1½ hours which I gather is about par for the course. Eventually you end up back at their cage and bid them a very fond farewell, aware that you won't be doing anything like this anytime soon. If you have any feeling for cats (small or big, domesticated or wild) then this is an absolute must-see visit!
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