Petting cheetahs on the way to Stormsrivier

Stormsrivier Travel Blog

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This kudu is very keen on a slice of bread.

We get up at 7.45 am. I am still in the bathroom when breakfast arrives. My “Just a second!!” is of no avail and our “bringer of food” keeps on trying to knock our door down. We dress ourselves provisionally and take the tray of the lady’s hands. It tastes very good again, the yoghurt however is not cold today, which is a pity.

We have to be ready at 8.45 am, because then we leave for Stormsrivier. When everyone is seated in the bus Kees announces that yesterday he paid too little before leaving the Cold Stream restaurant. Everybody has to pay an extra 50 Rand per person, making the price of the meal a lot less “OK” than I initially thought.

Look honey we've got visitors!

Today’s drive is not too long, but Johan has a couple of “verrassingkjies” (surprises) planned along the way.

Our first stop is a little past 10.30 am at the Daniell Cheetah Breeding Farm. In the souvenir/coffee shop Johan takes care of the coffee part, where we have to fill out a form in which we state that we will not hold the farm liable in case of being eaten by a cheetah. A ranger leads the way and first we pass a large kudu buck that loves being fed (not so) fresh bread. Then we move on to the actual reason we came here, the cheetah pens. It is very hot outside and all the cheetahs have sought refuge in the shade. Everyone who wants to, gets the opportunity to pet a cheetah.

Normally fierce hunters, these two don't mind a bit of attention.
Two of the animals that are kept here for breeding don’t mind the attention, the animals that are being released in the wild when they are strong enough can’t be man handled, because when they get used to humans they will probably not survive out there. We have to wash our hands before entering the pen. Someone asks why and I can’t help myself and say that cheetahs don’t like dirty food. Every single one of us wants to meet the animals up close, even Barbara, who normally is scared of virtually everything that moves. The cheetahs are somewhere between 4 and 5 years old and they look strong, in my opinion we don’t stand a chance should they attack us. But when you are calm yourself the animals don’t really have a reason to get agitated, so the ranger says and I am looking forward to this indeed. Of course all goes well and it is a great feeling to be this close to nature. Before leaving the farm we pass a pen where three cheetah kittens live. They are very shy and only one of them is curious enough to show it’s head to peep at us from behind the barrel where it was hiding.
This little tyke does't know yet that curiosity killed the cat.

When we are on the road again, smoke rises on the horizon. Johan has already told us about a large number of forest and talus fires (65 to be exact) that rage in the country at the moment. In spite of that it is kind of a surprise to see that a little later the banks of the road are scorched or still burning on both sides of the road. We can feel the heat radiate into the bus and some of us are somewhat afraid. I figure that our driver wants to go home to his wife after this trip as well and he probably wouldn’t have taken stretch of road (there was an alternative) if he thought it to be very dangerous, so I enjoy the experience.

A little later we enter Jeffrey’s Bay, a town every surfer in South Africa knows because of it’s very wide waves.

Jeffrey's Bay is a surfer's paradise.
Sometimes it is possible to ride one wave for three minutes! We’ve got one and a half hour to lunch and maybe go for a swim. The food is not bad, the double thick milkshake is actually quite nice, but time is short for swimming now. Only Annette goes for a short stroll on the flood line, Barbara, Trudy and I watch from the shade (even here on the coast it is very hot).

We leave at 14.45 pm and at 4 pm we stop near the bridge over the Storms River. When standing in the middle of the bridge you are 130 metres above the river. Especially constructed footpaths make it possible to walk underneath the bridge to the other side, so we can enjoy the view on both sides without crossing the very busy road. Before going back to the bus I want to use the ATM, but the line in front of me moves so slow that I decide to give it up and get some money when we get to our next lodge.

130 metres above the Storms river, the view is amazing.

We have driven for only a few minutes when Gert pulls onto a parking lot again. Here we can see an 800 year old yellow wood tree. We have to walk a wooden footpath that is about 500 metres long and then we stand face to face with the enormous tree. It is so vast that I just don’t know how to capture it in a picture. When all of us have taken pictures we take the short way back to the bus.

It is just about 5 pm when we arrive at the lodge, which looks quite nice. It is one large building that has houses all the guests and also has the dining room in it. It is very homely with dark wooden furniture and warm lighting. In the back of the building is a swimming pool, but we are too busy talking to Kees, Ans, Jos and Anke to make use of it.

This 800 year old yellow wood tree just doesn't fit on a single photograph.
Dinner is at seven and it must be said that the owner is a very good cook. His wife takes care of the finances, he cooks and is the handyman.

After dinner Annette, Barbara, Trudy and I start a game of Trivial Pursuit and after 15 minutes Johan joins team Barbara and Annette. At 11 o’clock we call it a day, the game is not over yet, but we are all getting tired. We have to do some laundry and some writing, so it is ten to one when I switch off the lights.

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This kudu is very keen on a slice …
This kudu is very keen on a slice…
Look honey weve got visitors!
Look honey we've got visitors!
Normally fierce hunters, these two…
Normally fierce hunters, these tw…
This little tyke doest know yet t…
This little tyke does't know yet …
Jeffreys Bay is a surfers paradi…
Jeffrey's Bay is a surfer's parad…
130 metres above the Storms river,…
130 metres above the Storms river…
This 800 year old yellow wood tree…
This 800 year old yellow wood tre…
Our lodge in Stormsrivier.
Our lodge in Stormsrivier.
photo by: Stormcrow