Hoedepruit Cheetah Breeding Centre

posted Dec 11, 2010, 9:35 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Dec 15, 2010, 11:00 PM ]
We were not fortunate enough to see a cheetah on the our self-drive safari through Kruger and Daxtin’s favourite animal is the cheetah, so we headed to Hoedspruit, about an hour and ½ driving time from Hazyview.  The scenery was beautiful and we were driving in the clouds most of the way.  We drove through the gates and paid our 120 Rand per adult and found a new animal to play with.  The girls at the pay gate had two Genets which is not even an animal that I have heard of or seen a picture of.  It is the cutest little thing.  It to me is a cross between a house cat, ferret and raccoon.  They are very affectionate and loved to be pet.  These two gaffers were babies and liked to smell you and then rub up against you.  The one really liked me and was always hopping onto me to get rubbed.  They are not from the cat family the girls said and many people who find abandoned ones keep them as pets in South Africa, I certainly would and they apparently get a bit bigger than a cat.

The guides told us to get into the safari jeep and we were off for a tour of the breeding centre.  Not just cheetahs find their home here other animals do as well.  It is a very successful centre and there are currently 46 cheetahs in the program. 
A South African woman started the centre 22 years ago because she always had a cheetah as a pet and she knew the numbers were dwindling so she started the centre up.  The centre currently has 2 King Cheetahs which is an even rarer recessive gene cheetah with stripes down its back. The King cheetahs seemed to purr allot and they were very playful.   We saw many cheetahs and were about 10 feet from one and he just looked at us and we snapped pictures and he was not bothered by us.  He was waiting for a female to pick him to mate with.  We learned a great deal about cheetahs yesterday and other animals.  We saw two different kinds of cats that I had never heard of before, one had exceptionally long ears and is extremely aggressive and another was spotted.  We saw chervils which are often confused with being baby cheetahs.  We saw a whole pack of African Wild Dogs and learned a great deal about them. 
We saw a black maned lion which are rare and very popular with the ladies apparently and his name was Handsome Pete.  We saw Sables which can be deadly to lions because they can impale the lion on their antlers.  We left that place feeling very schooled on the local wildlife and flora and fauna.  We also saw a blood orchid.

When we were leaving the breeding centre we were driving along the perimeter fence to the Hoedspruit Game Reserve and there were 4 huge giraffes chomping away on the trees and waving there long graceful necks to and fro and it seemed like a fitting goodbye to such a great part of South Africa.