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Anja’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 05 Oct 2005

Location: Alicedale, South Africa

MapWell, I'm still here - alive & kicking...! Although it's cold here with a capital COLD!!! Spent yesterday morning with the Northern Lion Pride - beautiful! They had just eaten (Wildebeest) so were very relaxed & let us get right up close & personal. One of our tasks whilst we're here is to try & figure out the best way of identifying them & setting up a file for the rangers. It'll be very difficult as the only way to do it is with scars & their whiskers as these are unique. Could be interesting but something I'm really excited about doing.
The rain started as we finished lunch so we had to decide what to do for the rest of the day. In true trouper style we all agreed it would be fun to go out & cut down & move prickly pear! And it was great fun - although we were riding in the back of a bakkie (utility vehicle) with it & are covered in scratches & we have splinters in places I don't want to think about! Fortunately the rain stopped anyway so we didn't get wet.
Decided yesterday evening that we were going to have an early night. Went over to the pub for dinner & didn't leave until after midnight! Oops! Although I have been taught how to two-step (which is how everyone dances over here) so it wasn't all about drinking....
This morning we went to the Born Free Sanctuary - the absolute highlight of me being here. Was amazing to meet the lions & leopards I've read so much about.
Unfortunately it was absolutely POURING with rain & we got absolutely soaked to the skin. The joys of going to work in a bakkie! Spent the day with a very wet butt...
I was reduced to tears by the awful histories of neglect & cruelty but they have a great life now. The four of us helped Glen (the head guy) collect the meat as it's feeding day - kudu & cow. Lots of blood & guts but it soon sorts out the hangovers. He's the most amazing man who has devoted his life to the cats. He loves them all so much & talks with such passion about them! He's got my job.
Spent rest of time before lunch cutting back the vegetation by the pathways as it's getting into the summer when all the snakes come out - especially the cape cobra & puff adders - which are both highly venemous! I got hold of the huge petrol strimmers & that was me away! Although safety comes last in SA - no protection but hey, I had my sunglasses to shield my eyes! Found numerous snake holes but it was too cold for them to be out.
After lunch we went up to meet all the cats & give them their meals. I could go on & on & on about this but I think you'd all log out so I'll keep it short! There are two lion pairs - Raffi & Anthea, Aslan (my fav) & Stella - 3 female lions Tammy, Ma Juah, Achee - Kuma the leopard & then the leopard triplets - Sami, Alam & Nimira. Suffice to say I didn't want to leave but we get to go every week to help with feeding & general maintenance.
Drove back through the game reserve &, what do you know, came across a female leopard with her kill of bushbuck. Amazing!
Well, we're now washed & fed so I'll say goodnight. Off to the pub...