1st April 2015
Today was another interesting and beautiful day!
It began with a walkthrough of the animals living here in the reserve rather than on the game safari.
This includes a beautiful tiger, who was bought as a pet by a family in India and then surprise surprise got harder to manage as she got older! So Kwantu swooped in for her ownership.
There’s also a gorgeous family of lions, and two stunning cheetahs.
I hate zoos and the like, and felt immediately uncomfortable with this. I did ask, and the explanation was that the tiger was raised around humans and may never be able to exist in the wild, however training was taking place to develop her natural instincts. The lions and the cheetahs had a less satisfactory answer. The reserve here is too small of another pack of lion to exist without all the grazers and browsers being wiped out, so investigations are being made now into an appropriate game reserve or national park that could take them and the cheetahs. Deep down though, I really can’t shake the feeling that these are all here (and will remain here) for tourists and Kwantu Hotel guests to look at. But I hope to be wrong, and will most definitely report on any good news I hear!
You might also have noticed there’s a lion and tiger in the same cage together. Well, apparently this is because the lion cub was rejected by her family and the tiger was depressed and lonely. They were put together for this reason in experimentation, and thank goodness they got along famously! Now they play and bicker just like sisters, despite the differences in their species… It’s actually quite sweet.
Finally, after breakfast, we went on our first game drive over the 600 hectare safari reserve. It was wonderful to finally see nature exist in the way I believe it should! I saw Blue Wildebeest, a variety of birds, zebras, a family of lions, a leopard tortoise and beautiful, majestic giraffes!
The final thing we saw were two Rhinos, who have both a heart-breaking and highly suspicious story.
Last September, poachers broke into the reserve, sedated the Rhinos and took their horns! Terrible, but the reason it is also suspicious is because you would have to be familiar with both this reserve and equipment for sedation in order to pull this off, be that an ex-Kwantu employee or a friend of… A police investigation was carried out, but was sadly fruitless. It’s hard to have patience with people that do this, however much they might believe this is medicine. I would do anything to be able to come up with a clever idea that will prevent this from ever happening again, but sadly I think we’re a long way off.
To round up, I saw one more impressive animal after returning to camp.