Animal Encounters

It was part of my tour from Livingstone to  Johannesburg to visit the Kruger National Park. I initially had planned to write a post about the whole experience. Indeed, we were lucky to get to see all of the Big 5 (leopard, lion, rhino, elephant, buffalo). Plus cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, zebras and lots of impalas. The whole crew. However. Yes, there is a big however. To put it that way, I am not content with how the photos came out. The majority of the animals were hiding in the shade or were generally hard to spot. My camera was simply not good enough to take descent photos that I could upload on my blog. As frustrating as it was, I decided to not put them on my website. I was especially bumped about not having a picture of a lion. As you can probably tell by my tattoo, I am obsessed with them. But back in Cape Town I got some exciting news. A really good friend of my uncle invited me to stay in his game reserve called Inverdoorn two hours away from Cape Town. I stayed for one night, two game drives included. Of course I was over the moon. I had already bought myself a new camera  and finally got the photos that I wanted. I couldn’t be happier.

Elephant dustbathing
Elephant dustbathing
His name is bully
Hippos get easily sunburned so they hide in the water all day
The buffalo is a member of the Big 5 (the most dangerous animals in Africa) because it doesn’t show any warning signs before attacking
Wilderbeast or Gnu ~ a herd of them killed Mufasa
Cheetahs chasing a piece of cloth. They can run up to 120km/h fast, but can’t maintain that speed for too long
Lola is a cheetah that unfortunately can’t be rehabilitated into the wild. She doesn’t know how to hunt and is too dependent on humans
This beautiful big boy was saved from a terrible breeding facility – he is dependent on humans because he was never taught how to hunt as well
Same goes for these two. They are sterilized. They could not teach their cubs how to hunt either and feeding lions is an expensive task

These pictures show a good selection of the animals that I have actually seen in Kruger. However, Kruger is way different from the Inverdoorn game reserve. Kruger is bigger (about the size of Israel) and a better representation of the wildlife how it actually is. Some of the animals in Inverdoorn would usually not live in the environment they are in. Nevertheless, they are still able to survive and live there perfectly fine on their own. The exception is that the rangers occasionally have to lay out some grass due to the ongoing drought.  Moreover, Inverdoorn is very special because of their cheetah program. They have about 16 cheetahs that are not actually part of the reserve. These animals used to live in terrible conditions and were taken away from their mothers as cubs. This is why these cheetahs could not be taught how to hunt and have become dependent on humans. In Inverdoorn, people try to rehabilitate these animals by trying to teach them how to feed themselves. They use a machine that basically just drags a piece of cloth with high-speed which the cheetahs go after. This project has already been successful a couple of times. Rehabilitated cheetahs could be sold to other game reserves. Unfortunately, some of them are too reliant on human affection and care. They are used for breeding or  – as you can see – for interaction with guests. However, these cheetahs have plenty of space to play and run around and live a peaceful and happy life.

Okay, so these are the animals that I have seen outside of Cape Town. But even in the city there are plenty of opportunities to see the one or other animal. I for my part did the seal snorkeling instead of the cage diving with sharks – that’s on my list for next time though. I would highly recommend you the snorkeling if you happen to go to Cape Town. The seals are basically everywhere, very interactive and don’t hesitate to come closer to check you out. I also visited the Bird’s Park and Monkey Jungle which was really fun as well. This facility is more of a zoo though. But when you arrive at the right time you can play with the common squirrel monkey. These little guys jump on you and try to open your bags to look for food.

Common squirrel monkey – I have seen them in real life as well
Sneaky little thing
Parrots – it’s a shame that I forgot how these ones are properly called

Meeting animals in real life is a one-of-a kind experience. It’s different from what you can see on TV or in movies. The prowl for the next sighting is thrilling. What is going to happen next? Will the lion just doze off in the sun or will he show us who is boss in this area? Will the seal just watch me from afar or is it curious enough to come closer? You never know. However, an aspect I find far more important is that you learn about them and their struggles. These animals should not be dependent on humans. But unfortunately most of them are. A cheetah, rhino, leopard and so on would never  need our help if it wasn’t for the humans. Purging, trophy hunting, destruction of their habitat and more have brought them close to extinction. I have heard horror stories from rhinos with their faces half cut off just for the horn and lions being bred for the sake of killing them. Now it is our task to protect the endangered and abused animals from ourselves. The best way to start is education and raising awareness. So if you consider going to Africa and even on a Safari – do it! You won’t regret it. Just make sure that the facility you intend to visit treats their animals right.

I think this is by far the post I put the most effort  and time into. Not only because it is the first one in which I included a video, but also because taking pictures of animals is more complicated than just fashion. It basically took me about three weeks to get the photos that I wanted and to think of a concept. So please, if you enjoyed reading this post t share it with your family  friends. You can also follow me via email or on bloglovin’, my twitter and instagram is linked in the sidebar. I also started adding a little heart like button down below. Thank you for your support!  X

Camera – Canon EOSS 1300D

Inverdoorn’s Website

Seal Snorkeling

All pictures were taken by Anna Zoe Lutz

All rights belong to Anna Zoe Lutz





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1 Comment

  1. Since my upcoming post will be about traveling I need to travel first in order to be able to write about my experience 😉