How You Can Live With Cheetahs
- Published:May 11, 2015 8:36 pm
For my family, we’re always searching new ways to explore the great outdoors. My partner and I often take our children for hikes along trails. While these walks are fun for the family, we were starting to look for new adventures because we wanted to try a unique and thrilling way to experience the outdoors. After considerable research, my partner and I found the perfect solution. A volunteer vacation to beautiful South Africa was the next big adventure for me and my family.
Through an accredited volunteer organization, we were able to pick a program that fit the family’s interest. Since we are committed animal lovers and have two house cats, we chose to live with cheetahs. This program connected us with a cheetah sanctuary dedicated to the rehabilitation of these beautiful and vulnerable animals.
As soon as we arrived at the airport, a friendly guide was there to welcome us and drive us to the 10 000 hectare reserve. While en route, he entertained all of our questions with patience (we had a lot!) and made sure to make us feel like we had made the right decision to come to South Africa to help these cheetahs. When we arrived at the sanctuary, we were introduced to the team that would train us and then were given a tour of the wonderful accommodations.
The very next day started with an early morning full of training with the resident veterinarians and handlers, so that we could care for the cheetahs properly and safely. Every guide was especially clear and engaging, and made our security a priority. It made all of us feel very special. I could also tell how dedicated they were to the animals, as they were proud about how their sanctuary was saving cheetahs from poachers. Hunting is a terrible, inhumane act that is illegal in most countries of Africa; however, it is still a huge problem.
Our day-to-day activities include general upkeep of the sanctuary and care of the cheetahs, so we had ample opportunity to interact with these amazing creatures. It’s almost indescribable, our experience. It was such a unique way to see the beautiful South African landscape and to see such magnificent animals. To know that we – while having the time of our lives – were providing essential sanctuary from poachers warmed our hearts.
Since we’ve been back we haven’t stopped talking about how rewarding and interesting our volunteer vacation through Volunteer South Africa was. All of our friends and neighbours know that our next vacation willbe through them again. My whole family has visited their website, and by clicking Volunteersa.com/projects we learned that this organization provides several different packages that focus on living with different endangered animals. It also provides the opportunity to work with disenfranchised children who are stuck in local hospitals. We’re not quite sure which package we’ll sign up for next, but we know that whatever we choose, we’ll have an amazing time making a real difference in the world.