Speed and Spots

August 18 — We spent the morning learning about and interacting with cheetahs at the Tenikwa Cheetah Sanctuary near Tsitsikammi Park in South Africa. The kid’s reactions are below:
(Reis) Three things that come to mind when you think of cheetahs are Speed, Spots, and Super Predator. But what people don’t know is it’s not just that. A cheetah won’t run fast to get exercise, it will only run when it’s running away from humans or hunting prey. Also they’re not very dangerous at all (well that depends on if you’re a human or an antelope). Cheetahs are mostly just furry playmates. But beware, don’t crouch down in front of them or they may mistake you for a tasty springbok snack. The thing is, cheetahs aren’t the vicious felines that turned your dreams into nightmares. They’re more than that. Cheetahs can be your friend, a slightly spotted, predatory, feline friend, but more or less, a good and loyal friend.
(Emma) Cheetahs. When you think of them you think “Predator”. But I don’t think that after the experience that I had with them. Soft, cute, cuddly animals that most people misjudge. Great creatures that have many different personalities. Jumpy, protective, feisty, sweet. But most of all great to take on a nice, sunrise cheetah walk.
(Andrew) My eyes grew wide when looking at the majestic cheetahs before me. When Chaka stared back he looked like he had been alive for decades even though he was only 22 months old. His ancient face was frightening and striking. His looks were a smokescreen because inside he was a big, fluffy puppy. In my opinion walking the cheetahs was the best thing we did in South Africa.
(Alex) Not only are cheetahs the fastest land animal, but one of the nicest and most playful as well. We experienced the playful, happy, aware and jumpy brother-sister pair; Thandi and Chaka. They were extremely calm with us being there, walking them. Cheetahs are also quite lazy or “energy efficient” animals, so they love to rest. Every three steps they would do the “cheetah flop” where they literally walk a couple of steps and flop down on their sides. Most people have the impression that cheetahs are very dangerous predators. Of course they are wild animals, so that is true, but the pair of 2 year-old cheetah cubs were just playful young cheetahs.
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3 Responses to “Speed and Spots”

  1. Oh my gosh, they are SO CUTE! I wish I could pet one of them! You must have loved them! I will see you next year,

  2. Sounds like the sanctuary has gotten a little more serious since I was there 10 years ago. Back then it was called “CheetahWorld” and for 35 Rand you could pet a cheetah, but only after they had their lunch. Very little science, but a lot of fleeced tourists.

  3. hi im carlys friend. the cheatahs ( did i spell it wrong?) are SOOOOOOOOOOO ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!!!