Up close and personal with meerkats and cheetahs

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November 9th 2008
Published: December 11th 2008
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Me and MeerkatMe and MeerkatMe and Meerkat

Just leave me here...
8 Nov - drive to Outshoorn. We have lunch at the Cango Caves then have a guided tour of the caves which have interesting stalagmite and stalactite formations.

Outshoorn is famous for its ostriches - they're everywhere. There are lots of ostrich farms in the area with hundreds of birds on each farm. Some of the group go to visit a farm, but the rest of us visit Cango Wildife Ranch. As soon as we walk in, the first animals we see are...MEERKATS!!!! Soooooo excited, it was great to see my fave animal in the wild a few days ago but now I can see them up close too, they're gorgeous (did you know that they no longer have meerkats at Edinburgh Zoo??!!). I am transfixed for ages watching the wee guys. It's a colony, complete with the sentinel keeping guard in the typical meerkat pose. I take loads of videos and photos before having to be dragged off to see the rest of the ranch. We see loads of animals up close, completely different experience to being in a zoo. We see crocs, vultures, pygmy hippo, lions, leopards, cheetah, tigers, Siberian tiger and lemurs. At the Cheetah Foundation, I opt to get the chance to enter the cheetah cubs enclosure and play with them. Two v cute furry cubs called Josh and Jordan who were born on 21 August this year. It's just like playing with Miou (Gel's cat) only bigger. They are sooooo cute and playful. The adults are extremely graceful and skinnier than I expected, definitely my fave out of all the big cats.

In the evening we head into downtown Outshoorn for dinner at Jemima's (named after a now deceased ostrich and not the owner, as I wrongly assumed!). Cracking meal of duck liver parfait followed by a meat tandem of ostrich and venison (springbok) fillets with creamy parmesan potatoes and veg, accompanied with a local red, delish. Quick drink with Nav on the way home, raid Priscilla for some more wine then bed.

9 Nov - drive through Stellenbosch, vineyards everywhere you look - in this area of the Winelands alone there are 106 cellars. We visit Somersbosch for a wine tasting of 5 whites and 5 reds. Great fun with Janet, Errol and Charlie and end up buying bottle of red and bubbles to have with dinner later that evening. We're now in the Western Cape and it definitely has the best scenery of the whole country - dramatic mountains, bays, a beautiful town called Wilderness with a quaint steam railway and of course, the vineyards. I definitely want to come back some day and explore this area more.

It's our last night of camping and we spend it at a great spot in a forest on the edge of a vineyard, heaven! Our last camp dinner is a yummy array of fresh breads, cheeses and pates bought earlier that day from various farmers markets we visited, accompanied of course by the wines from Somersbosch, superb. We enjoy our last campfire and all sing our national anthems...considering the diverse mix of the group, this takes a while. "Oh flower of Scotland....when will we see..."

Additional photos below
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Cheetah cubCheetah cub
Cheetah cub


11th December 2008

Meerkat Manor
Awwwww - I am soooooo jealous!!! I love meerkats! Would love to see your pics of the cheetah cubs. You are having the best time ever - a far cry from SWIP eh?!! All the best. Angela x
11th December 2008

Meerkat Memories...
Hey girl...all this SA chat is bringing back sooooooooooo many memories...I've been to all these places you've been visiting and loved it all too...it's lovely reading your tales! The Meerkats are super cute...! Have fun. L x

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