(Located next to the Nambiti Private Game Reserve)
If you want to get up close to cheetahs in South Africa - this is the place. You enter the gates of Nambiti and are met by the guard who will check if you have made a telephonic booking for the cheetah interaction. Booking is essential so it remains an experience with limited numbers.
As you drive into the parking area your eyes pop as a cheetah hops out of an open Land Rover accompanied by a couple of domestic dogs. A tiny meerkat called Zulu comes to greet you with a cuddle. The baby warthog called Basil is busy being enticed back to his sleeping area before the cheetah who hopped out of the Land Rover may find him an attractive snack.
The best part is the cheetah interaction where one goes into big enclosures first with the young cheetahs, then the Serval cats, then the mature cheetahs.The cubs that have been hand-raised are very tame and will purr when you stroke them.
The rangers are with the group at all times to ensure safety - yours and the big cat's as people can sometimes do silly things which can upset the animals.
There is plenty of time to interact with the animals instead of observing them only from a car window in a game park or being rushed through on a tourist trap experience where one has a minute or two with the animals. It is also an opportunity to get some magnificent close up shots in relaxed and natural surroundings.
The African wildcat is a species native to Africa, West and Central Asia up to Rajasthan in India and Xinjiang in China. The IUCN Red List status Least Concern is attributed to the species Felis silvestris, which at the time of assessment also included the African wildcat as a subspecies.
The African wildcat is somewhat larger and stockier than the domesticated house cat, with which it interbreeds readily. Its coat, paler in the female, is light or orange-brown with narrow dark stripes. The length of the animal is about 70 cm, excluding the 40-cm tail; shoulder height averages 23 cm and the cat weighs about 3.5 kg. The African wildcat is a solitary nocturnal hunter that preys mainly on birds and small mammals. Mating generally occurs early in the year, and a litter of two to five kittens is born about 56 days later.
The domestic cat is believed to have evolved from the African wildcat Felis sylvestris libyca between 4000 and 10,000 years ago.