Honey Badger


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Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Plettenberg Bay
January 4th 2013
Published: September 30th 2017
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The honey badger - one of the the more recent celebrities of the animal world, after a video showcasing its bad-ass aggressiveness went viral, attaining over 54 million hits on Youtube, and also today's star at the Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre. The primary focus of Tenikwa is actually the rehabilitation of African Wildcats, including caracals, cervals, and cheetahs (yup - we never heard of those first two either), but Badgie the honey badger captivated everybody on our tour today.

Tenikwa not only rescues animals from the wild, and also from animal encounter attractions where they have been abused and exploited, but also from private homes, if you can believe that. Apparently it isn't uncommon for African families to keep dangerous wildcats as pets, and even a honey badger. Haven't they seen the video where the honey badger kills cobras? Haven't they heard stories of it fighting off multiple lions at a time, and also attacking elephants? Why would you want to keep such an aggressive little bastard as a pet?

Of course, a family did in fact raise Badgie, resulting in the World's one and only docile honey badger, making him a delight to watch. He's kind of
Cheetahs On The Prowl ...Cheetahs On The Prowl ...Cheetahs On The Prowl ...

... though supposedly tame, the manner in which these cheetahs stalked back and forth along the fence, carefully eyeing us, hinted at the true aggressive nature of these animals.
ugly in a way, yet strangely cute, especially as he shuffles along as only a honey badger can, with the goofiest walk imaginable, and when he lies on his back, playing with his toes like a human infant.

Surprisingly, Badgie is allowed to roam freely amongst the baboons at Tenikwa, which are also considered extremely dangerous animals when encountered in the wild, though are fairly docile here, as they are used to human contact. In the wild, a honey badger would probably make short work of the baboons, but Badgie is different, as we were told he is often picked on by the baboons, slapping him around in a joking manner. But Badgie takes it all in stride, goofily walking away without retaliating, except for one isolated instance where he bit one of the baboons.

Tenikwa is renowned for its cheetah encounters, where visitors can actually walk a cheetah like a dog, except that it's the cheetah who usually winds up walking the human. It is the World's fastest animal after all, capable of hitting 120 kph in under three seconds, so I could imagine them dragging people along for one hell of a ride! Unfortunately, we didn't think to book
Caracal ...Caracal ...Caracal ...

... very cute when scratching its face on the fence, but we were warned not to get too close, as it liked to claw at people's toes.
far enough ahead and weren't able to participate, though that didn't detract from our overall experience at Tenikwa.

They do some pretty amazing work here, and the staff's love of animals is evident, even though I'm sure it is difficult and largely thankless work. At least people can show a bit of their appreciation by visiting this very special and unique attraction, with the entrance fees going towards a very worthwhile cause. Maybe you'll even be rewarded by spending some quality time with Badgie!


Additional photos below
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 African Wildcat Ominously Yawning ... African Wildcat Ominously Yawning ...
African Wildcat Ominously Yawning ...

... looking about as harmless as the average house cat, apparently this one could cause some serious damage to humans and small animals.
Cerval ...Cerval ...
Cerval ...

... kind of odd looking, lean and lanky, with a mix of cheetah spots and tiger stripes, leading some to jokingly call it a confused cat.
Grooming Time ...Grooming Time ...
Grooming Time ...

... one of the baboons was extra friendly, presenting its butt to us in hopes of us grooming her. Apparently, it's considered rude to decline when a baboon shows you its butt - who knew?
Ugly Bird ...Ugly Bird ...
Ugly Bird ...

... it's not a vulture, but part of the same family.
Thesen Island ...Thesen Island ...
Thesen Island ...

... an upscale waterfront area in Knysna full of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, reminiscent of Vancouver's Granville Island.
The Turbine ...The Turbine ...
The Turbine ...

... former power plant now converted into a boutique hotel, with much of the machinery, piping, and valving left intact, resulting in a very cool vibe.
Ile de Pain ...Ile de Pain ...
Ile de Pain ...

... we met a Vancouverite yesterday who highly recommended this bakery/cafe, and we were not disappointed. Though the cookie was only alright, and the almond croissant wasn't the best, their tarts were phenomenal, which served as desserts to our lunch.
Picnic at Tenikwa ...Picnic at Tenikwa ...
Picnic at Tenikwa ...

... the owner of Tenika saw us chowing down and remarked "Let us know if you need anything else, but it looks like you have everything already ..." Mango, tomatoes, roasted chicken legs, gouda cheese, along with some excellent baguette from Ile de Pain, a great Portuguese custard tart that was smooth and creamy, and a killer strawberry tart with a delicious crumbly crust.
Expensive Oysters at JJ's ...Expensive Oysters at JJ's ...
Expensive Oysters at JJ's ...

... perhaps the most expensive restaurant in Knysna, these massive oysters were about $3-4 CAD a pop. There were two types available tonight - a Namibian cultivated variety, and one from nearby Mossel Bay. I'm not an oyster connoisseur, but found them to only be good, not great. Our guesthouse owner later told us that during the low season, JJ's offers three course menus for about 1/3 of what they would charge during the high season. Sure, it's gouging, but what incentive is there to lower the prices when it's packed every night?
Zebra ...Zebra ...
Zebra ...

... thinking it might be a bit gimmicky, we were quite please that it was delicious, tender and juicy, a lot like a sweeter beef. The "wedges" were great - thick cut, homemade potato chips, with a nice selection of veggies and the mashed squash or sweet potato was done right, unlike what we had on New Year's Eve.
Kingklip ...Kingklip ...
Kingklip ...

... considered the signature South African fish, pan fried and served with a white wine and garlic sauce. A bit like halibut, it's a meaty but juicy piece of fish. Nothing fancy, but good stuff here at JJ's.


15th January 2013

I love Badgie! He reminds me a lot of Patty Cakes. Furry, hairy and strangely cute, but ferocious when he is hungry. Not to mention his goofiest walk imaginable.

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