A few years ago, I went on a quick drive up to Stellenbosch and we spotted a cheetah sanctuary. We are lucky in South Africa. We get so much amazing opportunities to see wildlife, that most people only get to see on the National Geographic channels. Whether the animals are in their natural habitat or in sanctuaries, we are still lucky to be able to see them in plenty.
- I have been informed that the Cheetah Outreach has moved to Somerset West, about 20 minutes from Stellenbosch. Please refer to the website (below) for more details)
I stopped along Spier to relax by the River, when I noticed the Cheetah sanctuary next to the premises. The sanctuary is on you way to the entrance of Stellenbosch and is not hard to miss or access.
We also got to see some zebra grazing, kudus and ostriches on the farm grounds which actually faces the busy highway. It’s not everyday, you get to drive past Africa’s wildlife while driving to or from home!
The Cheetah Outreach
The cheetah are bred and raised in captivity as apart of a rehabilitation program. You get to see them up close and if you want you even get to touch one! They have options to go and stroke an adult or pose with cubs!
The farm was formed to help create awareness for the cheetahs and to promote their conservation. Cheetahs are on the endangered species list and once roamed all over Africa and as far as the Middle East. The funds raised from visitors and tourists go to to the rehabilitation and conservation of the animals.
The Cheetah Outreach was founded in 1997 by Annie Beckhelling. I had seen her once on local television and once in Cavendish Square shopping Mall walking with one of her cheetahs amidst shoppers. It was on a leash!
The Cheetah Encounter
I decided to get up close and personal with an adult female cheetah. You had to bring in your own camera and there were 2 handlers on site. Only 5 or 6 people were allowed to go into the enclosure at a time.
The cheetah, like any cat, likes to be stroked. However you had to put more pressure on the stroke, If it was too gentle they will get ticklish and turn or run away. Nobody was going to force this kitty to stay still!
Cheetah fur is soft, rich and exquisite!
Afterwards you can relax and have a glass of wine or lunch at the Spier restaurant, famous for serving a fusion of South African cuisine. If not, chilling on the lawns is still nice. There are a few food stalls and shops to get a sandwich.
Cheetah visiting Tips:
- Take note of the handlers or guides instructions. They are no liable for injuries.
- The photo encounter times are restricted to 9-5pm daily
- You will need your own camera for this photo opportunity. The helpers or volunteers will snap you
- To find out more visit their website at: http://www.cheetah.co.za/