Cape Town - Cheetah Outreach Sanctuary

We met someone on safari who recommended that we stop at the Cheetah Outreach Sanctuary on the outskirts of Cape Town in Somerset West for a supervised Cheetah encounter.  The ambassador cats are habituated to human presence and while it's sad that they are no longer free and in the wild, they serve an important purpose:  to educate people about the plight of the endangered cheetah and to raise money for conservation.
We bought out ticket and waited patiently for our encounter, sanitizing both our shoes and our hands since cheetahs have weaker immune systems.
A handler brought Joseph, one of the older cats, over.
The volunteers never force a cheetah to have an encounter if they don't want to.  The cheetahs must lie down and settle on their own before visitors are brought in.  The cheetah knows that if they don't sit down, they won't be forced to visit and they use this as a way to express their preferences.  It was almost lunch time and Joseph decided that he'd had enough.
We were introduced to Phoenix instead who was much more open to visitors. We approached from the back and were able to stroke his fur.  He purred just like a house cat!  The cheetah is an amazing and beautiful creature.  I'm so glad we had the chance to meet one in person.
As we walked out after our encounter, we passed several other large enclosures.
We took a stroll around the grounds and spotted an Anatolian Shepherd.  Cheetah Outreach donates these dogs to farmers to help protect their livestock from cheetah in the wild.  The cheetahs face serious risk from clashes with humans.  The dogs scare them away and keep the farmers happy.
We climbed the viewing platform to admire the views and look into the enclosures from above.
While I would much rather see cheetahs free and in the wild, I recognize the value of these ambassador cats and appreciated the chance to meet them.  I'd highly recommend stopping in for a once in a lifetime experience.

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Cape Town - Cheetah Outreach Sanctuary
Cape Town - Cheetah Outreach Sanctuary
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