Time to Play with the Cheetahs!
Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
33Trip End Jul 17, 2013
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We were supposed to have an earlier departure (7:30), but ended up not leaving until after 8:00. Kate arrived last night after I had already gone to bed (she was helping at the farm with a group of National Geographic students), and I rode with her to Solitaire. The enrichment creatures were loaded in the back of the vehicles for the cheetahs.
After about an hour of hanging out and enjoying the pretty facility, we put the horse meat into our cheetah and octopus and assembled them. They were loaded into the back of a truck and off we went into the cheetah enclosure.
Six cheetahs live in the large enclosure, and, in order to find where the cheetahs were, Matt got out the tracking device that works with their collars. We were taught how to use the device to find each individual cheetah. We found the two boys first, Teddy and Aiyla. They were put together and bonded like brothers to form a small "pack" of their own. They heard the car coming and ran to us. Matt got out to keep the cheetahs away while the boys put their new toy on the ground. Apparently they aren't the most intelligent cats, so the cheetah (as opposed to the octopus with more compartments) was given to them. It took them quite a while to figure out how to get into the body.
I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see Spartacus, one of the other cheetahs (I can’t remember the name of the sixth cheetah). Spartacus is a proven “problem cheetah”. He was caught killing livestock without eating them, so essentially just for the thrill of killing. Because this would remain the problem no matter where he was released, and eventually a farmer would kill him, it was decided to keep him in the enclosure.
We headed back to the dining area. I was able to get online and chat with Dorian for a couple of hours as well as post a couple of blogs. It was very nice getting to talk to him. It’s incredible how much I miss him and am looking forward to spending time with him when I get back home. It’s nice to know that I have someone anxiously waiting for my arrival home.
Lunch was hotdogs on a hamburger bun with sweet chili sauce, cheese, and lettuce. Cheetos were the side.
Soon after lunch we headed to the bakery in the town of Solitaire. As we pulled in, I had to laugh at the population sign, which was carved out of wood and had multiple numbers crossed out and recarved. It seems that current population of Solitaire is 92. The bakery supposedly has the world’s best apple pie. I didn’t have apple pie, but did sample cakes, brownies, and a minty dish (some are being saved for the week at the farm).
After we arrived back at the home base, we learned that supper was going to be a braai. Not long after, the fire was started and meat was cooking. We had game sausage and lamb chops. We spent the last evening laughing around the table and drinking. We stayed up together until 9:30 (that’s incredibly late here)! It was an incredible time. I absolutely love everyone that is here with me, and I hope that we remain this close once we get back to the farm. Everyone is coming back except for Pia. I will already be home by the time she returns from Neuras.