Arriving at the Sanctuary

by - June 18, 2016

Friday 17th June 
Today was a travelling day - 5 hours in a bus to get to the sanctuary so that was pretty boring. Once I arrived I met the other volunteers. There are 12 of us in total and everyone's really lovely. They've all been here for at least 2 weeks so they know the sanctuary well, but unfortunately most of them are going in a week. 

Saturday 18th June
Jess (another volunteer) gave me a tour of the farm and pointed out all the cats. They have lions, cheetah, serval, caracal, bat eared foxes, jackals and monkeys. It started out in 2010 with one caracal and one cheetah and has grown from there. 
Volunteers are in 3 groups; house, feeding and water. Although I was meant to be doing house today, I followed the feeding group to see how they do it. 
One of the cheetahs, Zena, is very friends and you can stroke her and play with her. I haven't been in her own yet but I'm very excited. 
At weekends the sanctuary gives tours, and the volunteers help give them, and with helping the animals. This gave me another chance to see the animals and learn the layout. 
As part of the tour they feed the lions to show them as close as possible. A lot of the lions here have been rescued from canned hunting. For those who don't know, canned hunting is where lions are raised to interact with people, and then a foreigner is let into their enclosure to shoot them. They aren't scared because they are used to humans and so are even more vulnerable. Obviously, the sanctuary (and myself) are completely against it. 

After lunch we painted the inside of the shop they are building. For dinner we are going to a steak house because there are 4 Irish volunteers and Ireland and SA are playing rugby tonight - could be tense. 
I already feel like I've been here for ages, and it's awesome here. From the volunteer house you can see/hear lions, cheetahs, caracals and lions. It's just amazing walking around with cheetahs watching you.  

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