There is something quite exhilarating about sitting next to a cheetah – perhaps it’s the most obvious – the fear of being mauled alive and the anticipation of that happening with every flinch the spotted cat makes.
Central to Zululand’s main attractions in Hluhluwe, Emdoneni Lodge and Game Farm offers an intimate guest experience. The lodge’s chalets and rondavels are the perfect place to base yourself, with spectacular surroundings to enjoy while you unwind and relax after a day exploring the area.
Less than two hours from Durban, Emdoneni Lodge offers a dinner, bed and breakfast basis, allowing guests to sample the delights of true South African hospitality and cuisine. A Boma and sundowner deck is the perfect place to enjoy a few evening drinks and discuss your day with fellow guests.
While the lodge itself is an experience of South African adventure, their Cat Rehabilitation Centre is the ‘cherry on top’. The interactive tour gives guests the opportunity to learn more about South Africa’s endangered wildcat species, while giving a hands-on engaging experience.
My visit included the chance to get close to some serval cats, african wildcats and Caracals (Lynx) that had been brought to the Centre as orphans or due to injury in the wild. Remembering that these are still wild animals, there was a sense of caution stepping into each enclosure. This was not helped as the experienced guide decided to throw a piece of the meat he had been feeding the caracal at my feet. As the Caracal pounced on this part of his dinner, I could not help but think my toes would be next. To the entertainment of everyone else, the caracal gave me the first of my up close and personal experience as promised.
The finale was yet to come however, as the group moved into the cheetah enclosure. Here the group took turns in spending time with two of the most beautiful cheetahs I had laid eyes on. Learning about how fast and agile these streamline animals are does not exactly assist with the nerves.
The interaction was more hands on than I imagined and when the time came to leave I felt a sense of amazement. There are many experiences you can enjoy in South Africa, but hands down this one was up there with the best of them.
For more visit www.emdonenilodge.com