Last Updated on March 14, 2016
Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre in Plettenburg Bay, South Africa offers a unique, exciting experience with their “Walk With The Tenikwa Cheetahs”.
It is truly a intimate encounter; a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to look at life through the eyes of an endangered creature. We never thought the day would come that we would be able to sit beside a Cheetah and stroke it without losing limbs, or our lives!
The Cheetah walk experience begins with being taken into the Cheetah enclosure by a professional guide. Here, the cats introduce themselves at their discretion, you’re briefed on what to expect and how to behave around the cats, and the cats are given a bit to eat before taking off on the trek. As they bite into their snack, we could hear them as they quickly devour the meat and wonder how easily they could take a bite out of us.
It was amazing to hear its vocabulary of rumbling purrs and sharp bark-meow cries, and watch, as this amazing animal acts on its natural instincts. With that said, if the Cheetah runs, let go of the leash! The Cheetah walks YOU.
At first the purrs are a little intimidating as it seems like the Cheetah is growling, but it is indeed just purring. The Cheetahs especially liked a massage just below their ears — the cat purred like crazy! The Cheetahs were quite big, with stunning eyes you don’t want to stare into (they interpret it as a challenge) and very gentle fur.
The guides (one with each cheetah) were fabulous, professional and spent a lot of time running around for each visitor, ensuring everyone had more photos and video than they could ever dream of having. It really made the experience that much more memorable.
Getting up close and interactive with animals was a big part of our decision to go to South Africa. We were thrilled to learn you could join the Cheetahs on their walk and interact with them. Knowing little about Cheetahs before hand, it was great for an educational experience as well.
We had the opportunity to walk a Cheetah together as well as on our own. A small group of six people allowed for plenty of interaction and time with each Cheetah.
When we got back to the reception area we were greeted by wine and snacks , topping off a great afternoon. Cheetah’s are incredible animals and being able to spend time with them in such a close proximity was very surreal and special.
Have you ever had an up-close encounter with an incredible animals? What has been your favorite so far? What animal would you like to have an up-close encounter with?