If you have known me throughout my life, you already know that I absolutely LOVE cute little creatures! Cats, dogs, monkeys, baby goats!…basically anything fury, playful and full of chaotic energy 🙂 Thus, the opportunity to interact with baby cheetahs obviously could not be passed up! Especially when the proceeds go toward improving childhood education pertaining to the importance of protecting these gorgeous creatures and many various types of endangered species across the globe. However, I cannot lie, as cute as these furry little felines look in a still shot, my heart beat was PUMPING when I first entered their territory. Aside from being the fastest creatures on earth (acceler
ating to 70 mph in 3 seconds…faster than a Ferrari), they have massive claws for such tiny little fur balls! Nonetheless, being able to interact and play with them for a little while was priceless. The man, Craig, who educated me about all of the cats in the reserve, was near my age and had been working there for 13 years. He started as a volunteer and fell in love with the animals. His passion for their well-being flowed through his words and actions effortlessly. Unfortunately, there is still a place in my heart that feels quite sad that these wild creatures have to live a captive life. Most of them cannot be released into the wild once they have experienced any part of their life in captivity. Luckily, they were taken in because of injuries or being born into a reserve – therefore many would have died in the wild or know nothing of that life anyways. Once in captivity, even in a large reserve and with many actions taken to keep their mental and physical capabilities flourishing and intact, they lose their wild instincts and, as explained by Craig, will no longer be tough enough to survive amongst their wild counterparts. So, they become ambassadors of their species, to educate the human population on the ill effects of poaching and destroying their environment.
This photo is from inside the Congo Caves and in order to explore them to the fullest, taking the ‘Adventure Route’ was the obvious choice! After crawling, sliding, climbing and squeezing through spaces and routes as small as 27 centimeters (good thing some of that ‘home for Christmas’ weight is gone!), my adrenaline was certainly rushing! I wish I had a stronger Internet connection so I could post some videos. Caves have that sort of exceptional beauty that just takes your breath away…especially because it’s the type of scenery you’re not used to seeing on a regular basis. The route that I took through the cave covered over 3 km’s and awards stunning views of some of the largest stalagmites in the entire world and over 500,000,000 years old! Quite impressive and extremely fun!
This little guy just loved the camera. Quite a poser to say the least! Monkey’s have the power to make ANYONE crack a smile.
Stunning sunset from Strand, South Africa
And in case monkey smiles aren’t what you needed today…they say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I’m not sure the calming essence of this one can be limited to that. South Africa is a beautiful place and I was blessed to have connected and re-connected with some seriously AMAZING people.
Thank you to all who have made this part of the journey so incredibly special. I learned, saw and experienced so much. A special thank you to Charlie and his wonderful mom who created such a welcoming home-base just outside Cape Town, couldn’t have done it without you! Still in awe of the fact that it was 8 years ago that we met in London! All love.