Sunday, 20 May 2012

Day 3 - Johannesburg, South Africa

I live for days like today.

We left the hotel at around 0800 and drove for an hour to The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre in Hartbeespoort ...

The centre was set up over 40 years ago by Ann to rescue the cheetah from extinction in South Africa. There are currently over 50 cheetah in the centre plus a raft of other cuties like the African Wild Dog, Anatolian Guard Dog, Wild Cats and Honey Badger ... and not so cuties ... vultures ... ostrich ... and hyena.

I met up with Marilyn Hull who runs the centre. She introduced me to to Byron - a 12 year old male - who give me a sniff and a lick.

These animals are WILD. These cheetah could - if they wish - swipe and kill BUT the handlers are trained to keep everyone calm and strict rules are followed ensuring that no-one has ever got hurt.

The Anatolian dog - Jedi - stole my heart. Just a delightful pooch who looks after his two bad-tempered goats. The stories of these dogs are amazing ... they look after goats ... they guard goats ... last year a farmer rang Marilyn to say that his dog had not come home but the herd had and he thought that the dog must have been killed defending the herd. The next day, the dog returned with a kid in his mouth ... and its mother in tow! He had stayed with the goat, helped her through kid-birth and carried the baby home! AWESOME!!!!!!!!

I had to be dragged away by the boys ... I could live at the Centre ... it's just a delightful place ... and a MUST on any visit to J'burg.

Back at the hotel and I have just experienced a unique spa treatment ... Sound Therapy.

I was placed on a warm water-bed and gongs, cymbals and Tibetan bowls & bells were gently thumped ... sending out vibrations through my body and clearing the chakras ... I fell asleep after around 10 minutes but awake feeling ... "new" and clear...

I have a lot on my mind at the moment ... but surely tonight I will dream of pups and cubs!
Marilyn and Byron
Gorgeous Jedi
Lauren the Honey Badger
Cute Wild Cat
Hello Cheetah!
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