Monday, May 23, 2011



As I may have mentioned, the Wife and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this past Friday.  Although technically,  the actual celebrating didn’t happen until Saturday.  Thanks to a new “rule” about leaving on Friday we weren’t able to fly out until 9:30pm.  This meant we didn’t get into Cape Town and to our hotel until around 1am.  Good times.

We had a leisurely breakfast and made our way out to the wine country on Saturday.  We chose to stay again in Klein Zalze so we could have our celebratory dinner at their amazing Terrior restaurant (will post soon on food blog).

After checking in we drove over to Spier Winery to stalk a cheetah.  Well, not really stalk as much as pet one at the Cheetah Outreach Center. 

What an incredible experience…


His name was Joseph and he was beyond awesome.  I’ll admit I was a little weirded-out when we walked into his area.  He’s big.  He’s a freaking cheetah.  Enough said.  We had to walk behind him and kneel on one leg. This was so we could get up quickly in case he decided to roll over or get up or try to eat our face off.  As soon as I knelt behind him he rose up.  I almost peed my pants, but the whole kneeling on one leg thing worked because I was up in lightening speed.

After he walked over to the shade, which was all he wanted, we both knelt behind him and were able to stroke his side.  He literally purred.  Cheetahs are Africa’s only big cat that purrs.  Again, just incredible…


We later found out we had been hanging with a celeb.  He was in  “King Solomon’s Mine” with Patrick Swayze. 

After our cheetah encounter we took a tour of facilities and saw some of their other rescue animals…

DSC_0538bat eared fox

oh so cute!  i see that snaggle tooth!precious meerkats


Cheetah Outreach is an awesome organization that breeds dogs to save the cheetahs.  Yeah, that’s right- they raise money to breed dogs.  Actually it’s such a cool program.  The cheetahs they have were all born in captivity. They were hand-raised so they can’t be sent back into the wild.  They “work” as ambassadors educating young and old about the plight of their wild family members.  The money they raise is used to breed some kind of huge Turkish sheep dog that when placed as a pup with livestock protects the herd from predators…

  the stud of the dog breeding

Cheetah outreach breeds the dogs and gives them to farmers with the promise that they will not trap or shoot cheetahs or other predators.  Farmers who have the dogs go from losing 1/3 of their livestock to around 2% and best of all- the wild cheetah population is saved from demise. Our guide told us they have been doing it for about 11 years in Botswana and they have actually stabilized their cheetah population and are even seeing some growth.  Win. Win. Win.

The rest of our afternoon and really the rest of our weekend was spent tasting wines, buying wines, shopping at the little craft market, talking about the past 5 years and planning the next 20 all while eating ridiculously fresh and beautifully prepared foods. 


A truly wonderful anniversary weekend with the most amazing person I know…

5th year anniversary dinner

we’re so very blessed.

This weekend we’re thinking of staying at a cultural center not far from Joburg (I’m yearning to learn more about local people and our plans to stay the weekend in a rural Swaziland community to help women carry water and heard cattle fell through- boo) and maybe hitting this lion park place where I hear you can hold white lion cubs.  I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again- full-on animal stalker mode. 

Pics from this weekend…

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