Our South African Journal

Monday, April 6, 2015

On Friday, March 27, we left Drakensberg Castle and traveled about 2 hours to the Nambiti Game Reserve. We first were driven to the KWA Cheetah Breeding Project. Cheetahs are endangered species and so the program was developed to breed cheetahs and prepare them to return to the wild. Cheetahs are fast but they are not good for the long distance so they are often preyed upon by lions and hyenas. In fact this project will not release any cheetahs to a game reserve that has lions.

I can't say these cheetahs are tame but they are used to being handled by humans. In spite of this they are successfully training the cheetahs to hunt on their own so they can be returned to the wild.

They told us not to touch their paws or tummy

We made this guy purr while we were scratching his ears and neck.

Just want to you know this cheetah is actually alive

After the cheetah interaction we went to lunch at the Springbok Lodge where we are staying and then we were taken to our "tents".

This our "tent"

This is the inside of our "tent"

This is the bathtub in our "tent"

After getting settled in our "tents" we had lunch at the the lodge. Excellent food but not the quantity and variety we had at Drakensberg. Then our guide loaded us up in the truck and off we went in search of big game.

This isn't our truck but we had one just like it.

The first animals we saw were Kudu with their beautiful curved horns. We also saw Elands, Springboks, Blesboks, and lots of Wildebeests. Wildebeests are known for their stupidity. But they are great lion fodder. My favorite antelope was the Oryx Gazelle. It has beautiful facial markings in black and white and long straight horns that can be as much as a meter long.


We saw some hippos or at least the parts that showed above the water but we didn't get a picture. Next we came to a herd of elephants. We were able to  get quite close. There were mamas and babies and a rather scary young bull. When we first pulled up to look at the herd the bull took a somewhat aggressive stance and the guide turned off the motor and told us to be very quiet and not to move. After a few minutes he calmed down and we started down the road again only to be stopped by a cow elephant and her baby blocking the road and there was no way around them. So we had to just sit there waiting for them to move. Well, I guess the bull didn't like what we were doing because he just started stalking towards our truck. I was sitting on the outside back corner and he was coming right toward me and looking right at me. I thought right then either I am going to die or I am going to have a great story to tell my grandchildren.  He finally stopped but he was only about 10 feet from me. Again the driver turned off the truck and told us to hold still and be very quiet. After a few very long minutes he lost interest in us and started grazing. (tearing limbs off trees). We had to wait a few more minutes until the cow and her calf moved and we were able to get out of there. (sigh of relief)

the young bull getting amorous with his lady

young elephant with zebras

We also saw zebra and some rhinos. The rhinos do not have horns because they keep them cut off. That way they are protected from being killed for their horns. There is a great black market for rhinoceros horns.

It began to get dark so we headed back to camp and we came across a couple of male lions. We watched them for awhile and then decided to go back to our lodgings as it was getting dark. On our way back the lions cut across country and ended up sauntering down the road in front of us. Our guide decided to go around them. Just as he got around them one of lions decided he didn't like what we were doing and started to run after our truck. Again, I am sitting in the back and I yelled, "he is coming after us!" The driver hit the gas and we quickly out ran him.

We got back to lodge and had dinner, and traded game drive stories. We also took the following picture. The banners were made by some Public Relations missionaries. We received one and hung it at a busy crossroads near our house.

When we finally dragged our weary bones back to our tent we found this. Yep, that is a bathtub surrounded by rose petals, with candles floating in a bubble bath. There were also chocolates on our pillows.


  1. I want to pet a dead cheetah too! ;) I laughed out loud at the lion part "he is coming after us!". I can see you sitting in the very back of the truck...Um yeah..pee my pants city lolol!

  2. I love the animals! I wish, I wish...
    I must say, the pic where you two are petting the same cheetah, you both seem to be in a flight stance!! LOL " one twitch and I'm outta here!!"

  3. So are these "tents" going to be where you live while you're serving in that area? Rose petals on the tub?? Where were the rose petals when I needed them in Honduras? :) I'm signing up for a couple mission ASAP ;)

  4. Did you get a chance to use the bathtub?

    1. Yes. I couldn't pass that up. Besides the shower was outside the tent. I didn't feel it was private enough. :)