As we embarked on our three hour car journey to the Hluhluwe area from Durban, we were filled with excitement and anticipation.
We were headed for Emdoneni Lodge which has a Cat Rehabilitation Centre onsite. For the sum of R180.00 per adult, a tour guide will walk you into each cat enclosure, which gives you a close-up and personal experience with a variety of cats.
Our first enclosure held wild cats which looked like ordinary ‘tabby’ cats with a more distinctive feature, being their red ears. The wild cats were as close as a metre away from us, which allowed us to identify with the guide’s description of the cats and with each of their individual personalities.
The next enclosure held caracals, which are rather bulky looking cats with beautiful black tipped ears. One was relaxing in the tree above us and looked at us as though she knew we were talking about her. Being breeding season, the male caracal was in a separate enclosure, which we were guided into by our tour guide. As the guide was telling us more about caracals, Bar One (which was the male caracal’s name) was rubbing himself against our legs like a normal housecat does. You could feel the difference though as this cat had so much more power and we all appreciated the fact that he was wild.
The next enclosure held an experience that I will never forget. The guide walked us into a grassy enclosure with two grown cheetah brothers named Juba and Moya. After we were provided with an informed education on cheetahs, we were allowed to pet the cheetahs and have a photograph taken whilst doing so. The cheetah sat so still as we all approached him and we were all in awe of him and were filled with such respect for this stunning creature.
The last enclosure had the cutest and fluffiest cats that I had ever seen in real life – servals. They are long-legged and very nimble cats with beautiful golden and black coats. Their big fluffy ears make them look approachable and friendly – which these ones were. Once again we were welcomed to touch them and they were so playful with the group.
With cat tours daily at 10:30am and 16:30pm, this is an experience which should not be missed.