Walking With Cheetahs 2011 travel blog

This morning we attempted to venture out to the heads. These are two large sandstone (I think) cliffs that form the entry into the bay of Knysna. Following what we thought were directions to the top, we ended up at the bottom... of course. We did some exploring in this area before hopping back in the car and trying again to find the top.

We decided to make a random right hand turn which just happened to lead us in the right direction. The view from the top of the cliff was amazing overlooking Knysna and surrounding suburbs then out to the sea.

We decided to then make our way to one of 3 sanctuaries we intended to visit over these few days. On our way out of Knysna on the highway, we came across road works. Guessing they are council workers but was hard to tell as they were all..... working! Unlike here where you will have 5 council men standing around while one is actually appearing to be working, on these road works there had to be at least 20 or so people and each at work on a task of some sort. The distracting ones were the 'stop and go' guys. These were women who controlled the traffic by waving red flags as you went past.. we figured it was to get our attention to slow down but when you come across the first person waving frantically you think you're suppose to stop. And the bit we liked the most was the sign to indicate the end of the road works which says 'Thank you'.... they are so friendly!! lol.

We coasted along the freeway for a bit enjoying the scenery when suddenly a sign for Knysna Elephant Park appeared. They love to put the signs AFTER the turn off!!

We got there about 10 minutes before the next tour. when the tour starts you are taking into a room to watch an 8 min video covering safety tips and how the park started etc. We are then led to an area that reminded us so much of Food Prep from N/a 'an ku se. At this sanctuary they have 12 elephants and this is where they sleep at night for theirs and the neighbours protection. Apparently you can also sleep there over night. They have 6 rooms upstairs where you can enjoy watching elephants sleep... not sure who would want to but hey it's on offer!

We're then led to our mobile shed.. yes, a shed on wheels towed by a tractor. They take us down to the field where you can see the people from the previous tour hanging around the elephants. As we drive up the elephants instantly make their way to a metal bar that is set up. They know its feed time. They line up in a row behind this bar and patiently wait to be fed. We've bought a bucket of fruit and veg and all you need to do is put your hand out and they'll take it from you - the bigger guys will... greeedy buggers. The poor kiddies don't get a chance so you need to throw them some food or they miss out.

As soon as the buckets are empty the elephants walk away without a second glance. The motto is 'No Food, No Friendship'. They simply have no interest in you once your food has run out. So we follow. You can get as close as you want to these elephants, just don't get between them or behind them. We got so close Debra got sneezed on.. nice one!!

They have amazing skin texture. It appears so thick and leathery but to them it's very sensitive, we could lightly touch their skin with our finger tips and they'd feel it. Their tails are unusual. They have tufts of hair at the end, one side of the tail being longer than the hair on the other side, and it is so thick and strong like plastic.. the perfect fly squatter which is what it's designed for.

It was so amazing to walk amongst these magnificent creatures, so big yet so gentle and quiet. We were in awe during this visit. When the tractor returned with the next lot of tourists we were offered to stay back for longer is we wanted to. We were impressed with this as we thought we would have to return as we've only paid one entry. Unfortunately we didn't stay as the next load of visitors were..... school kids!! so we opted to return again in a couple of days.

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